Chair pledges approval of parent survey

Chair pledges approval of parent survey

Delegate apologizes for comments

By Joel Ceausu

The chair of the EMSB has pledged to endorse a parent survey after a consultation period, and a delegate from a St. Laurent school has publicly apologized to its governing board over inflammatory comments made during a public meeting.

Angela Mancini says she will personally approve distribution of a Central Parents’ Committee survey once an ‘appropriate consultation process’ is completed with partner bodies representing teachers, in-school administrators and the special needs community.

“Whether the Council of Commissioners endorses the contents of this survey or not, I will not stop it from going out,” said Mancini in a statement to select media and posted on the board website. “If we are going to send something like this to every parent in our system, I want to make sure all of the appropriate parties have been consulted. That has not occurred to date.”

The survey—comprised of 26 simple questions with boxes to check off—was created by the Central Parents Committee to gauge parent opinion on numerous issues, and after asking for the council of commissioners’ endorsement, was blocked from distribution using the board’s facilities. Instead, the parents committee, were told that the survey could be handed out to parents outside school.

At a subsequent public meeting of the CPC, several speakers explained their position on the survey including parent commissioners, Mancini, and several delegates, including one from Gardenview School, who spoke of “fascism” and “dictatorship” when trying to present the survey to his governing board, in addition to relating the teacher’s alleged reaction to his presentation.

The comments were made in front of several elected commissioners, delegates, the board’s chair and vice-chair, a deputy director-general and reporters. Soon after the comment were made the Committee called for an in-camera session.

The Suburban has learned that the school governing board has demanded Varelas apologize publicly for the statements, which he did, to the Gardenview community on the CPC Facebook page, while alleging that the words he used were “taken out of context.”

“The words I used were completely inappropriate, and I regret if I offended my colleagues and friends at Gardenview,” wrote Varelas. “I let my passion get the better of me, and if I have hurt anyone with my poor choice of words, I am sorry.”

More than 20,000 printed copies of the survey sit in boxes awaiting distribution, and some parents have been filling it out online at While that is helpful, it is feared that the lack of a paper copy may preclude lower income families from having their say.

The board’s position is that since the CPC asked for its endorsement, a council resolution seeking further consultations must be followed. Despite Mancini’s assurances, it is unclear what the process will be if the council comes up with recommendations to alter the already-printed and web-hosted survey.

The consultation period demanded by the board will conclude at the May 27 council of commissioners meeting.


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