LBPSB ‘open to responses’ from HSLDA, parents

By Stephanie Azran
www.thesuburban.com

Home schooling parents are welcome to consult on the the new LBPSB policy, said both Chairman Suanne Stein Day and Director General Robert Mills at Monday night’s board meeting.

“While we have no official relationship with the Home School Legal Defence Association (www.HSLDA.ca), and they are not a consultation partner, we are open to getting a response for consultation from any organization, anyone has the right to participate,” Stein Day responded to a parent question.

Only a handful of parents showed up for this month’s meeting to address the commissioners who, in December, postponed their vote on a new home and school policy, to allow stakeholders time to review it and comment.

The inclusion of home schooling parents was considered a win last month, despite the fact that they have still not seen the draft policy; however, there was still concern that organizations like the (HSLDA) would be shut out of the discussion.

Mills stated in response to a question by home schooling parent Sherry Helman that the board would be happy to send any documents to the HSLDA and is simply awaiting a request to do so. He added that he will ask LBPSB’s education committee to send the draft policy to all 24 registered parents.

HSLDA representative Carole Cardinal, who did not attend the meeting, said in an interview beforehand that the ball was in the LBPSB’s court.

“After I put in some calls, Mr. Mills did leave me a message on Friday to say that they would be consulting the registered families only,” she said. “I clearly got the message that they were not going to involve their representatives and our association.”

According to Helman and others, the LBPSB would do well to cultivate a relationship with parents and particularly with home school associations considering the lack of board resources and the rumour that the provincial government will soon require parents to register with a school board.

As it stands, not all parents are registered. Many resist because of the LBPSB’s strict policy and reputation for reporting families to Youth Protection for truancy.

“You might be faced with a sudden influx of hostile stakeholders,” Helman said.

After the meeting, Helman and Bernie Meier, vice president of the Association Chrétienne des Parents Éducateurs du Quebec (ACPEQ) spoke with The Suburban.

“We understand there is a process to follow,” said Meier. “We would have liked to have been part of the process a bit more intimately.

“It’s not a functioning model…but I believe it’s possible,” he added.

“We understand but we’re disappointed,” said Helman. “They don’t have the resources to work with each individual parent. They could negotiate with the [HSLDA]…they could could get information from these organizations. I don’t know why they’re not leaping at the opportunity.”
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