Sunday, 29 January 2012

Expulsions and Lessons Learned - 1 Year Back

One of the interesting things about being a returning Trustee is that you have the time to reflect about what's improved and what hasn't.

Expulsions are not a fun duty that one does as a Trustee as you are making a life decision for a student - it is one of the hardest decisions to make and I never take it lightly as I want the best for every student in front of me.

Things need to change though - the TDSB has raised the stakes for expulsions by having a Trustee lawyer and a Principal Lawyer - this practice is completely unnecessary and expensive - our monies are better spent elsewhere.

I started this Expulsion when Scarborough brought in ZERO Tolerance which over time was ridiculous as one needs to look at all the mitigating factors rather than simple black and white. Rarely do parents have a lawyer as it's expensive. In the early days the student was usually represented but this is NO longer covered by Legal Aid - so why is the School Board still spending needlessly on this?

We have talented staff and Trustees who have done this many times and in the many (I think I've done at least 20 in the last year) that rarely need legal help and the presence of lawyers just makes it seem more formal and daunting to poor parents and students.

Parents have remarked over and over how daunting it is to come into a room of 3 Trustees plus a the Registrar and 2 lawyers. I won't even ask what we are paying in legal fees but it is unnecessary and needs to stop! I'm sure a few staff positions can be invested in rather than paying legal fees.

It's time to put the student first and work in their best interest!

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