The Canadian Union of Public Employees could take job action today (February 7) at schools operated by Le Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien (CSDCEO). The French-language Catholic system, which includes École Elda Rouleau in Alexandria, is still the only school board in Ontario without a local collective agreement with its education workers. After two years in negotiations with the board, CUPE 4155 has given the required five days’ notice of a strike, which is scheduled to take place beginning Tuesday, February 7. More details as they become available.
"A safety concern" at Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute forced a temporary lockdown at the high school this morning. Students have returned to the school after the Ontario Provincial Police requested that buses be redirected to Pleasant Corners Public School.
At 8:35 a.m., police informed administrators with the Upper Canada District School Board that it was safe for staff and students to return to VCI.
Counselling has been made available at the school for staff and students who may require support.
Speak up to save your schools.
MPP Jim McDonell encourages all residents of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry to visit the Upper Canada District School Board's accommodation review page at www.ucdsb.on.ca/programs/accomodationreview and click through to the online survey to provide their feedback on the proposed closure of many schools in our area.
"Community and school groups have raised their voices throughout the riding on the issue and every resident can contribute their voice to the conversation and show the broad concern throughout the community," he commented. "Completing the online survey will give the Board a tangible measure of the scale of local involvement in discussing the planned closures. Without sufficient responses, the Ministry of Education may conclude that the community is not interested or concerned about the plan – this can’t be the message we send."
The survey, which closes February 1, is accessible at www.ucdsb.on.ca/programs/accomodationreview
Monday Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m. at General Vanier, 1500 Cumberland St., Cornwall, is the final public Accommodation Review Committee (ARC) meeting to discuss the proposed closure of Glengarry District High School.
The Glengarry SOS committee "can't overstate the importance of a strong GDHS presence at this meeting. If there is one public event to go to, this is the one. We'd ask you to wear red Gaels colours, or red Gaels clothing. Doors open at 6!"
Glengarry SOS is providing busing from the Glengarry Sports Palace parking lot, free of charge. Buses will leave at 5. For more information, or to reserve a spot on one of the buses, please contact a committee member:
Alyson Graham (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Natasha Boucher (email@example.com)
Mandy Duval (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dean MacGillivray (email@example.com)
Krissi Pacaud (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Glengarry High School students, speak to Marshall Wilson.
You can also register for a spot on the bus on our website, www.glengarrysos.ca
Ontario Education Minister Mitzie Hunter (centre) meets Upper Canada District School Board trustee Wendy MacPherson and her daughter, Morgan, during a tour of Glengarry District High School in Alexandria Tuesday. The minister also visited Char-Lan District High School in Williamstown and schools in Long Sault and Cornwall.
Today's SD&G senior girls soccer championship final at GDHS in Alexandria opened with the athletes holding a protest of threatened school closures. Please click here for a video.
As the referee blew his whistle to start the SD&G senior girls soccer championship match at GDHS this afternoon, athletes from both teams – the Gaels and the Char-Lan Crusaders – came to the midfield stripe and sat down as one, aiming to draw further attention to UCDSB's threat to close both of the English public high schools in Glengarry county.
The girls from both schools were silent for a time, then chanting in unison "save our schools."
The action today was part of a larger movement in North and South Glengarry to stop the school board from abandoning our communities.
School closures are being denounced as a "war on Ontario communities" by the Ontario Alliance Against School Closures, which is calling on the Ministry of Education to immediately halt school closures and scrap the current Pupil Accommodation Guideline.
OAASC spokesperson Susan MacKenzie says Ontarians are concerned about the closures being initiated under the new guideline, which threaten to shutter 1 in every 8 schools across their communities .
"Last March, when the Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline was rewritten, communities lost a significant voice at the table giving school boards the freedom to ram these school closures through without resistance,” she says. “Community schools are under siege, carried by this tidal wave of closures across the province," she says." The revised guideline has pitted the province and school boards against our communities. We’re paying a steep price for cuts in education. It is time to see beyond the boundaries of Toronto and the GTA. Kathleen Wynne needs to realize that she is Premier of the province of Ontario, not premier of Toronto."
The Upper Canada District School Board has scolded organizers of a Save Our Schools demonstration Tuesday at Glengarry District High School.
Superintendent of Schools Tim Mills issued the following statement:
"Our first priority for our students in the Upper Canada District School Board is to attend to their safety and well-being when they are left in our care during the course of the school day. Given our obligation to supervise and care for students when they are at school, we were very concerned by the staging of an unauthorized activity by some of our students today at Glengarry District High School.
It is understood that our students and members of the local community have strong views about the value of GDHS as a special place for learning and growing our next generation. At the same time, it is essential that the school can fully discharge legal obligations that it owes to students for their care throughout the entire school day.
With this in mind, staff at the school cannot condone the actions that students followed that interrupted the school day and interfered with the staff’s legal obligation to supervise students and maintain the schedule that defines a regular school day.
We want our students to be actively involved in any matter of local interest and we will always ensure that we draw their attention to the means and opportunities for lending their voice and ideas to the topics. By doing so, we ensure that the message – and not the method – is the focus for public attention. We want our students to understand that we are here to support them in their efforts to become engaged and involved in a wide range of matters. We also require our students to respect limitations in which schools can appropriately support their approach to how they share their thinking and their voice.
With this in mind, it is worth reminding our students and the general public that they can share their thoughts and opinions by completing the online Building for the Future survey, attending public meetings scheduled at various locations throughout our district, or by e-mail at email@example.com
We are both concerned and disappointed that GDHS students who organized today's event disregarded requests by the school's administration to use other opportunities to share their concerns about the pending accommodation review process. In no manner can we accept others advocating that students – some as young as 12 years of age – are properly cared for by walking out of their school rather than being in class. Our staff will continue to bring to the attention of our students the appropriate channels available to express their views so that we can maintain a balance between the interests of our students and our obligation to safely operate the school and supervise pupils."