Miscouche parents still concerned about school situation

Several families talking about transferring kids out of community for schooling

Colin MacLean colin.maclean@tc.tc
Published on September 3, 2014

Miscouche Consolidated School is a place a learning divided these days, as parents voice concerns about its administration. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE – The first day back to school is likely to be a tense one for some kids at Miscouche Consolidated School.

People close to the situation at the school say that at least seven families are actively pursuing the process of transferring their children to another facility, with several more still mulling over the idea.

Cathy Richard, president of the Miscouche Consolidated Home and School Association, said she’s aware of one family whose child is being transferred to a Summerside school, but they will have to provide their own transportation.

“It’s that important to them that they are going to drive from Richmond to Summerside daily,” said Richard.

This is the latest development in a long-standing dispute between a group of more than 30 families calling themselves the Miscouche Concerned Parents on one side, and the school principal, Scott MacDonald, and the English Language School Board on another.

The parents are upset with what they call a systemic problem with bullying among students at the school and MacDonald’s handling of that situation, and other issues.

Leon Perry has a child in the school and has been acting as a spokesperson for the other concerned parents.

He has not applied to transfer his child, he said, because he doesn’t believe he should have to.

“Why should I put him out of place into another school and have to start all over again when it’s really not his problem,” said Perry.

During the tail end of the previous school year, Opposition Leader Steven Myers brought up this dispute in the Legislature. He wanted to know why the province and the English Language School board wasn’t taking parents’ concerns more seriously.

The school board has also refused to meet with concerned parents as a group or with their chosen representatives, like Perry. They instead insisted on meeting with each family individually to discuss each student’s situation.

The school board has also declined to comment to the media in the past about the parents’ concerns, citing staff and student privacy concerns.

On the other hand, the parents’ group has been quite vocal in their demands to have MacDonald replaced, there was even talk at one point of mounting some sort of sign campaign or march.

Those plans fell by the wayside during the busy summer, said Perry, however, he also said Tuesday that English Language School Board Superintendent Cynthia Fleet’s office had arranged a meeting with him, set for Friday.

He expected to know more about the situation after that, he said, and hopes to meet with the other parents over the weekend to discuss what he learns.

“Depending a lot on what I find out from the school board, what their changes or recommendations are, if any, we’ll have to make a decision from that,” he said.