Songhees, VCPAC to boycott Greater Victoria School Board meetings following suspensions

Songhees, VCPAC to boycott Greater Victoria School Board meetings following suspensions

Songhees Nation and the Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils have sent letters to the Greater Victoria School District board saying their members will boycott future meetings due to a loss of confidence following the suspensions of Diane McNally and Rob Paynter.

McNally and Paynter were censured and suspended on Feb. 11, following an investigation into complaints about bullying and harassment.

The investigation into the pair has not been made public, leading some school-related groups to question the process which led to the suspensions.

In a letter sent to the school board, Angela Carmichael, president of the VCPAC says the group has lost confidence in the board.

“[I]n light of the recent suspension of Trustees Paynter & McNally, we have lost confidence in this Board’s ability to conduct itself in a democratic manner,” the letter says. “We stand with our fellow Stakeholders and Rightsholders in boycotting any further meetings of the Board, unless and until the aforementioned trustees are reinstated, OR the allegations of bullying are substantiated.”

On Feb. 17, Chief Ron Sam of the Songhees Nation and the council sent a letter to the board saying they were shocked by the sudden censure and suspension.

“The lack of transparency regarding this decision is appalling and in violation of the duty to consult and to obtain consent of First Nations that may be affected by these measures,” the Feb. 17 letter says, noting they echo the call for a boycott of the board, initially announced by the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association.

“Furthermore, we call on the Minister of Education for the resignations of the Greater Victoria Board of Education. Our children and families deserve better.”

Previously, the GVTA held a vote of no confidence in the board and said they would be boycotting meetings until they are satisfied that the process that led to the officials being censured and suspended was appropriate or the suspension is rescinded.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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