Miscouche group ‘will not back down’

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Education Minister Alan McIsaac

Concerned parents want changes made to ensure improved environment for children

We are the Concerned Parents Group folks have been hearing about in the media lately regarding Miscouche Consolidated School. Our group represents well over 50 per cent of the families of the school and we have concerns of a highly serious nature regarding the physical, emotional, and educational well being of our children at this school. These problems have been progressively worsening over the last couple of years and to date, they have become beyond what we would consider acceptable conditions under which our children are subjected to daily.

We have made numerous unsuccessful attempts to resolve issues with the principal, the school effectiveness leader of the English Language School Board, and the superintendent, and therefore went with hopeful hearts to the minister of education. We have done all of this quietly and respectfully.

We have chosen to stand together as a group because when you have well over half the families of the school all dealing with similar issues, you have a much larger problem; and one would hope, a stronger voice together. This voice, our government refuses to hear. We have requested that government meet with only two parents representing our entire group, yet we are refused and in turn are publicly accused of having a mob mentality and being on some sort of witch hunt.

We find these accusations of the Minister of Education Alan McIsaac highly offensive. Perhaps he is feeling highly defensive. Why would that be? It seems that instead of helping find resolution to the problems our children are facing, he is taking a stand against us.

We sent the package of grievance letters from the families and our petition filled with signatures to Mr. McIsaac’s office April 9. Following that, all we received was a call from his office stating he had received the package. We requested a response by a specific date several weeks later but received no word.

The minister did not respond to our letter until the opposition challenged him. During those conversations in the legislature Alan McIsaac repeatedly stated he was in contact with some of the families in this group.

This was not a truthful statement. None of our group had been contacted by his office. It wasn’t until this week when the Opposition pointed out the lack of truth in Mr. McIsaac’s repeated statements, our phones started ringing. Yet still, he refuses to meet with two spokespersons from our group and insists on individual meetings.

We had hoped we could go to our minister of education for help and all we wanted to do was have two of the parents from our group sit across a table with him and discuss the issues. But he refuses. We have made it clear that we do not want to meet individually and we do not expect Alan McIsaac to address our group in its entirety if that intimidates him. We have two representatives of our group who have been attempting to schedule a meeting for discussion with our government but have been absolutely refused.

At this point we continue to hope our government will step up and meet with our group representatives as requested and we also hope that our government will discontinue the slander of our group by referring to us as a mob and telling the public that we are on a witch hunt. This is not the case at all. We have striven to move through this process with the utmost respect and integrity, yet we are treated like villains from the very government we sadly put in office.

We will not back down. We want changes made that would ensure an improved environment in which we can send our children with comfort and assurance that it is such. We are appalled at this reaction from our government when asked to step up and address the serious problems our children are faced with regularly. Some of us have battled this problem in this school for the last few years. Are there not systems in place that would help our children thrive in the school in which they attend? If not, perhaps it’s time some were created.

We are disappointed in this government’s slanderous portrayal of our group. We merely want a safe environment for our children and one that is conducive to their educational progression. Therefore we assure the public, we are not on a witch-hunt, and we are not a mob. Quite the opposite.

We are folks who love our children and cannot bear to send them to a place in which they are not safe, where their education is compromised, and where they are not considered a priority over ego or pride.

By Leon Perry (commentary)

Leon Perry is the spokesman for the Miscouche Concerned Parents Group

Organizations: Miscouche Consolidated School, English Language School Board, Miscouche Concerned Parents Group

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