Survey goes ahead online

Survey goes ahead online

Parent rep cries ‘fascism’

By Joel Ceausu

The debate over the EMSB parents survey controversy shows little sign of abating, with allegations of fascism and smear campaigns levelled while the principal players faced off at a meeting in the East End last week, and the survey goes live online.

Designed to gauge parent opinion on several matters, the short survey has been prevented from distribution using EMSB channels, as council consults employee groups and its advisory committee on special education services.

The Central Parents Committee has every right to survey parents, conceded EMSB chair Angela Mancini, but its gambit to garner board support through a resolution in April requesting board assistance has subjected the process to a consultation.

“They presented it to council and we have to respect council’s vote,” she told The Suburban. “They had the chance to withdraw it as well. As long as we are consulting on this issue with our stakeholder groups, then we cannot distribute this survey.”

Mancini confirmed, as did vice chair Sylvia Lo Bianco in The Suburban’s earlier reports, that the survey could be distributed outside school not using EMSB resources.

The distinction may have been lost on some, according to a delegate from west-end Elizabeth Ballantyne School who said a principal didn’t even allow discussion of the issue at a governing board meeting.

“The principal literally shut me down,” she said, adding she was advised to “go out on the sidewalk and talk about it.”
Mancini condemned the move, as did CPC chair Pietro Mercuri who told the group: “It’s unacceptable that people who put their time into this were treated that way.”


Delegate George Varelas expressed dismay at the response at “our flagship school,”  Gardenview in St. Laurent, where teachers allegedly characterized the survey as something conceived “by a bunch of parents sitting around a bar…”
“I might as well have been selling leprosy,” he said, adding, “I don’t send my kids to school to learn about fascism and dictatorship, where’s democracy? It’s a survey!”
“That’s just proof of need for such a survey said Mercuri. “Teachers should know what the CPC does.”

For Mancini it’s clear: “You (CPC) do not need to come to council but you did deposit it at the April meeting, so we have to consult our employees. We cannot put ourselves at risk, and we’ve started a process to make sure the directive is followed: a process we’ve followed for umpteen years.”

She said once the consult is completed (by May 27), the board will allow distribution using board resources, and condemned “a smear campaign” by the CPC to paint her as acting against parents.

“As a chairperson but more importantly as a parent I am embarrassed by what I hear, by statements bordering on lies.”

The survey is now live at

CPC vice-chair Andrew Ross expressed frustration that the online survey might not reach low-income families without computers at home.
“We have not been allowed access to the school board’s internal mail system or to any assistance from principals,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, that may mean the opinions of some parents may be excluded from the survey.”

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