I am writing to address some of the issues and clarify information stated by the new “Parents Slate” for school board in your Oct. 2 article.
1. They are incorrect to state that parental rights have been extinguished. School PACs and the Richmond District Parents Association are always looking for parent representatives as well as volunteers and their parental feedback is always valued. The problem is that parents are very busy and often only get involved when an issue directly affects their child. IE: SOGI.
2. Contrary to their belief, the Board already has polices in place prohibiting the smoking of and consumption of cannabis products at school by students and staff.
3. What these candidates need to understand is that the SOGI policy we put in place was in response to a directive from the Ministry of Education and as a result of requests from our own district students. To claim it violates their charter of rights is a real stretch.
4. Having visited China and seen first-hand how the BC Dogwood and our provincial curriculum is so valued over there, I question their criticism of our school system. They strike me as coming from times gone by of wanting “teachers to focus only on academic subjects” to the detriment of all else. These days, universities want well-rounded students, not just the ones who get A’s in math science and English.
5. As far as their desire to have a city centre school built in the next two years, they are completely off base. Our district has potentially 34 schools that house thousands of students that need seismic upgrading now. We have only just recently received funding for three schools and have two more in the planning process. This is our priority at this time. It will take a long time to complete these upgrades as the provincial government has finite resources and we are competing with other districts that have needs as well.
Other candidates are touting a need for a city centre school as well. There are two reasons that this will not occur in the near future. We have spent the past four to five years looking into land assembly for such a school. For such a project to move forward, we will need three things to occur: help from the city in zoning; ministry assistance with funding as the price of land is prohibitive; more students to materialize as we do not have the student population in city center to support such a school at this time or for the foreseeable future.
School trustee incumbent/candidate