Thursday, June 2, 2016

School Expectations Letter

I've spent the last months trying to come to terms with my disappointment regarding the failure of the petition organizers to hold the CBE accountable.  The organizers are content with the role they have been handed by the CBE, even though it is not the role we petitioned for.  I attended the PCE Rally in Calgary and was pleased to see the turnout and to hear the speeches by people who want to protect families, and parental involvement in schools. I hope some of you were also able to attend.

In April, Parents for Choice in Education wrote a post introducing a tool that parents can use to advocate for their involvement at the school level.  The post includes a Parental Request for Notification form.  I have taken the basics of this form and adjusted it to reflect my expectations as a parent as well as to remind our school administration of their duties under the Family Law Act of Alberta.  I am sharing my version here in case anyone would like to use it as a starting place for their letters.

As we move forward with the next phase of advocacy for the protection of our kids, I invite you to share stories of how these letters are being received by your school administrations.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Message from the Petition Organizers

I received the following message by email from the petition organizers today:

CBE quick update - Encouraging News!

We’ve heard back from the CBE and believe that they are offering us a route that is even better than what we had expected. The CBE lawyers told us that while the petition we put forward was deficient (although our lawyers tell us that this position could be legally challenged), they recognize that 4800 signatures is substantial and can’t be ignored and so they’ve offered to allow us to go ahead and form a Committee of our choosing to discuss EVERY detail that we have issue with.  They also gave us the option to make our presentation live to the Trustees, which we will do. 

This means that our voice is guaranteed.  Previously, going through a public meeting to elect committee members would not have guaranteed us a voice unless those opposed to the Guidelines were elected. We knew that those supporting the Guidelines would attend the public meeting to ensure their members were elected to the committee, thereby drowning out our voice.  The CBE’s offer to allow us to bypass a public meeting means that our members will be able to have their say in a Committee.

Second, we were previously only going to be able to bring forward issues that people at the public meeting voted upon.  That constraint is no longer upon us.  The CBE has now told us that we have the freedom to bring forward every issue that we deem important.

Third, while previously we would have been constrained to 4 persons and 2 CBE members, they have given us leeway to have more than 4 members and there won’t be CBE members on our Committee. 

Thank you for your support and for continuing to inform parents on this critical issue.  

CBE Rejects Our Petition

The Calgary Board of Education has rejected our petition!

They say it is 'insufficient'. I have no word from the petition organizers yet as to what our next step is. I have left a voicemail and an email with my CBE trustee to get details of why the petition was rejected. Please consider doing the same. Please call and email to make sure the trustees understand they can't just brush the petition under a rug and silence the parents and electors who hired them!

We need everyone's voices!  Please, please call your trustee to express your displeasure.

You can find your trustee's contact info HERE.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Peaceful Rally for Parental Rights

Please consider attending this rally

The CBE and the government of Alberta have been ignoring the tens of thousands of letters they have been receiving expressing concern over the loss of parental involvement in our public schools.  Our physical presence at a meeting like this may be the only way to get the attention of the media and our elected representatives. A sister rally will be held at the legislature in Edmonton at the same time.  Find more information and ask questions at the Facebook event page.

Message from the Petition Organizers

I've received a message from the petition organizers.  The CBE has not announced a meeting date or time yet, but the organizers of the petition feel, as I do, that it will be very important to get the word out as much as possible even before the meeting is announced.  I've attached the message from them.  Please read through it and pass the information along to as many people as you can.

Again, this blog will have the public meeting date as soon as it is available, so subscribe or follow with the buttons on the right.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Link to CBE Policies Documents

PLEASE take the time to read the following document and become informed about what is going on in Calgary Schools.

CBE 'Guidelines for Attending to Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sexual Orientation in our Schools'

Here is a link to the Policies, Administrative Regulations, and other documents that make up the package they sent to the province earlier this week.  It includes a draft Student Code of Conduct as well as  the draft Student Discipline document, draft Suspension and Expulsion document and the existing Employee Code of Conduct.  All of these documents are worth reading if you have the time.

How the petition works

Our petition has been presented.  Sometime in the next 13 days the school board has to call the meeting.  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do everything you can to attend this meeting if you are an elector.  Lethbridge had their petition meeting a week or so ago the vote came down to 40 votes out of almost 1000.  Your vote counts! Make your voice heard.  Remind the Calgary Board of Education that they are educating OUR kids, and that they need to include us in decisions like this.

How the petition works:

I've had a lot of questions over the last couple of weeks about how the petition I've been involved in works, so here goes:

Section 269 of the Alberta School Act describes what public school electors (that's anyone who is eligible to vote for public school trustees) can do if their school board won't involve them in a particular discussion or decision.  I've linked to a PDF of the School Act - you'll need to scroll down to page 168, or search for 'petition' in the PDF and use the up button to choose the last instance of the word.  Or just click HERE for a PDF of just the relevant pages.

So when someone decides they want to force a meeting all they need to do is gather 2000 signatures.  Each signature must be witnessed by an elector of the school board in question and that elector must then sign an affidavit in front of a commissioner of oaths that they are an elector and that they believe and signers to also be electors, and that they saw each signer sign.  Then the petition pages have to be gathered up and presented to the secretary of the board.

Once the petition is presented, the school board has 21 days to call a public meeting.  The meeting must be advertising according to specific rules (Section 270 of the Act).  The meeting has to take place within 90 days of the date the petition was presented.

At the meeting, a committee may be elected to study and make recommendations on the subject of the petition, in this case the safe and caring schools policies of the board.  The committee is made up of 2 members appointed by the board and 4 electors, chosen at the meeting.  The committee then must present it's recommendations to the board within 30 days.