By Robert Frank
Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) Chair Suanne Stein Day called for police to remove two members of the public during an unusually fraught school commissioners’ meeting, April 28.
Stein Day bridled after Chris Eustace, her political opponent in the upcoming Nov. 2 school board election murmured a comment from the back of the room to another member of the public, Jason Doan.
“Mr. Eustace, you are not allowed to speak at council meetings,” Stein Day reproached, referring to her decision five months ago to bar him from speaking during the council’s question period.
When Eustace replied that he had not posed a question, Stein Day called for security to remove him from LBPSB council chamber.
Moments later, Stein Day also called for them to remove professional economist Cindy Mac Donald, after she questioned the decision to oust Eustace. Mac Donald had, just a few minutes earlier, raised a number of questions about possible conflicts of interest on Stein Day’s part, during which Stein Day turned the meeting over to vice-chair Angela Nolet and left the room.
Also conspicuous by her absence was parent commissioner and LBPSB Central Parents’ Committee Chair Laura Derry.
An unusually large crowd of parents attended the meeting, several of whom alleged that Derry had been barred from the commissioners’ caucus, and demanded to know LBPSB’s policy for doing so.
Stein Day declined to answer, saying that she would not permit the council to discuss matters that pertain to an individual commissioner.
Officials sealed the electronic door locks of the council chamber and LBPSB-hired security guards would not permit uninvolved members of the public into council chamber afterward. According to former Beaconsfield High School teacher Luc Horne, who was trapped outside, the LBPSB only readmitted them after police banged on the door and told officials to allow them to enter the public meeting.
“When someone speaks out of turn, there has to be some sort of discussion,” Horne told Stein Day afterward. “If someone is removed from a meeting, the decision should be made in public with reasons given. It’s not healthy to have the kind of interaction that we had at this meeting.”