Concerns over Miscouche school principal sparks heated exchange in the P.E.I. legislature

TC Media
Published on May 1, 2014

PEI legislature

©Journal Pioneer

Questions today over a parents’ group concerned about their school principal led to a heated exchange between the premier and Opposition leader.

A group of parents at Miscouche Consolidated school have major concerns with their principal, but the group cannot get a meeting with the education minister or with the school board to share their concerns.

Opposition Tory MLAs brought the situation to light during question period Wednesday, asking Education Minister Alan McIsaac why he is refusing to meet with this group.

McIsaac said the matter must be dealt with first at the school board level. Proper procedures must be followed, he said.

“This is an issue that has to be handled very properly, there are accusations made, we don’t know whether they are true or not,” McIsaac said.

“We have to go through proper procedures, proper protocols. It’s not a witch hunt or anything, we have to look at the facts before we finalize the whole issue.”

The Miscouche Concerned Parents’ Group has a petition, alleging mismanagement at the school and asking for the principal to be replaced. The petition alleges the principal is “dismissive and confrontational.” It also claims bullying at the school has been ignored, that academic programs like the science fair have been abandoned and that security measures within the school are not being followed.

The petition is signed by 55 parents, which they say makes up over 50 per cent of the parents at the school.

The group has been seeking a meeting with the school board superintendent and the education minister, but have been told each parent must file individual grievances which would then be followed up with interviews with each parent or family.

“This is an issue that has to be handled very properly, there are accusations made, we don’t know whether they are true or not,”Education Minister Alan McIsaac

Officials will not meet with the group as a whole.

“These parents, these families, are getting extremely concerned because this has been going on for close to four years,” Aylward said.

McIsaac said he has met with Opposition Leader Steven Myers on the issue, and that Myers agreed not to bring it up on the floor of the legislature.

“Because it is not an issue to be discussed on the floor of this house, and I’m actually disgusted,” McIsaac said.

Aylward says the parents are so frustrated they asked for the issue to be raised during question period.

He then asked whether the group’s concerns are falling on deaf ears because the school principal’s brother is deputy minister of education.

This led to a heated exchange between Myers and Premier Robert Ghiz, who were quipping at one another while Aylward questioned McIsaac. Later, Myers raised a point of privilege, alleging Ghiz threatened Aylward’s wife’s employment during this exchange.

The speaker has taken the matter under advisement.