Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Here we go again...

Second verse, same as the first...

Remember this?:

http://www.boyohboyohboy.com/2006/06/let-battle-begin.html

And this?:

http://www.boyohboyohboy.com/2006/06/battle-has-ended.html

And this?:

http://www.boyohboyohboy.com/2009/05/why-indeed.html

And this?:

http://www.boyohboyohboy.com/2006/08/just-when-i-thought-battle-was-over.html

And this?:

http://www.boyohboyohboy.com/2006/08/saga-continues.html

If not, go read all those posts...I'll wait....

(insert musical interlude here)

Back? M'kay good...let's begin, shall we?

**THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY TYPED ON JULY 29TH, BUT COULD NOT BE PUBLISHED DUE TO THE SITUATION NOT BEING RESOLVED. THIS MAY GET EXTREMELY LONG, DEPENDING ON HOW LONG THE SCHOOL BOARD DRAGS THE ISSUE OUT, SO FOR THE LENGTH OF THIS POST, I APOLOGIZE, BUT I HOPE THAT BY READING ALL THE WAY THROUGH IT, ANYONE OUT THERE WHO MAY BE IN A SIMILAR SITUATION, WILL GET UP THE COURAGE TO STAND UP AND DO THE RIGHT THING...**

Well, we are at war again.

Here's my letter to my City Councillor that I wrote last night, that explains the current situation:

Dear Mr. *:

I stood before you and Members of Council in 2006 to present
a deputation regarding portables at St. * School. I am attaching a copy of my
deputation for your reference. I am grateful that you were so kind and helpful
back then and that’s why I am writing to you today. I need your help again.

After I presented my deputation in 2006, I was awarded the opportunity
to work with the City of * and the School Board to come to a mutual agreement on
where the portables should be placed. The 3 portables became 6 portables and two
years ago, converted to a port-a-pac due to the overwhelming growth in our
school. The placement of the port-a-pac is ideal, as it can be seen by the
school cameras, is well-lit and does not obstruct the already overcrowded
schoolyard. I was pleased to have come to such an amicable resolution after
fighting to have my voice, and that of my neighbours and community, heard. The
site plan was amended and now shows where the port-a-pac is located. I am
attaching a copy for your reference. You will notice that across the back of the
schoolyard, there are no proposed portables. You will also notice that there is
ample space on both sides of the port-a-pac, as well as behind it, for many more
portables.

I am writing this letter to you today, as I am facing this
same dilemma again. I hope I can count on you for your guidance and support like
I did 4 years ago.

Yesterday morning, I looked out my bedroom window to
see the foundations for a portable being placed in the middle of the schoolyard
(our home backs onto the St. * schoolyard). I have attached photos for your
reference. There was no prior notification that this portable was even required,
let alone that it was being delivered or where it was to be placed.

The
location of this portable is, to be blunt, ridiculous. It is in the middle of
the primary play yard, which is already jam-packed with kids at recess. There is
no lighting behind the portable, there are no cameras behind the portable and it
has cut out a large area of the playground for the children. I fear that the
location of this portable will be a haven for drugs, sex, violence and illegal
behaviour. I feel that during the school day, children will be at risk because
the playground is already under-supervised. Plopping a portable into the middle
of that yard will make the job of the few teachers on duty even more difficult.
These are all the same concerns that I voiced 4 years ago.

I have
emailed the principal of St. *, * *, the Director of Education, * *, * *,
yourself and your assistant, *. Mr. * (the trustee) has responded with the same
answer I got 4 years ago...he is looking into it. I don’t have time to waste.
Last time Mr. * “looked into it”, I ended up having to do the deputation to the
City at the very last moment to avoid the portables being placed. Mr. * was no
help whatsoever and I fear that he is using the same stall tactics as he used 4
years ago. I fear that once the school year starts, it will be impossible to
have this portable moved. * has been very helpful in getting me a copy of the
Site Plan and responding to my questions very quickly. No one else has responded
to me via email or telephone, despite numerous emails and voicemails. I realize
that these are the summer months, but something must be done before the start of
the school year.

I also feel that the placement of this portable,
directly behind my home which is midway down the schoolyard is a direct result
of my deputation 4 years ago. I feel that it is a reprisal against me
personally, as there can be no logical or reasonable explanation for why it was
placed in such an odd place.

Mr. *, I implore you to please help me in
my cause. I would so very much appreciate it if you would come out to see the
portable’s location. All you need to do is see it to realize how ridiculous its
location is. Even our children have asked why the portable was in the middle of
the yard...”This is where we play!” “Where are we supposed to play soccer now?”

Please Mr. *...will you call me to discuss this matter at your earliest
opportunity?

I can be reached at ** or ** at any time.

Thank you
very much in advance.

Sincerely,
Dawn *
And many residents of *
(subdivision)


Here are some photos so you can see what I am talking about...





My Councillor paid me a visit today and we discussed the issue. Unfortunately, the City has no jurisdiction over the school board.

I had emailed the City Planner to see what, if anything, could be done if the school placed a portable in an area that contravenes the site plan. The email I received from the City Planner in response today reads:

Hello Dawn,

The definition of "Development" within the Planning Act does not include the placement of a portable classroom on a school site of a District School Board if the school site was in existence on January 1, 2007. The City of *'s Site Plan Control By-law is consistent with the Planning Act.

As such, additional portables at St. * would not require site plan approval. However, any application for building permit would have to meet the zoning by-law regulations.

Thank you,

**


My Councillor was extremely helpful in getting me in touch with some key individuals. I have contacted police department to see if there is a recommendation report that can be done. Unfortunately, the police cannot assist me as the school is considered private property and therefore, the safety officer must be invited by the school board to do an audit. The sargeant that I spoke with was saddened as me when he told me my only option would be to report any suspicious activity behind the portable every time it happens and if it is often enough, they can take it further to force the board to make changes. Sigh..."Sorry Ma'am, your daughter was raped, but now we will make changes." (shaking my head in disbelief)

After pulling every excuse under the sun, and about 50 emails today with the trustee, the director of education, the superintendent of schools, the principal and the board's constructin manager, I finally got them to agree to meet with me on Tuesday morning at the schoolyard. For the love of Pete, all along, all I have wanted is for someone to listen to my concerns and hear my ideas. Not alot to ask!

I also shocked our princpal with a phone call to his cellphone today. He has ignored all of the emails over the past couple of days. He also forgot that he called me from Quebec when Boy Oneder was sick...I had kept his cellphone number. He nearly pooped himself when he heard my voice today. He tried to get me off the phone immediately, with yet another excuse:

"Oh hi Mrs. *! I am out of town and can't talk now...can I call you back?"

"Actually, Mr. *...I need just a moment of your time..."

"But I am out of town and..."

"I just want a moment Mr. * as you have not responded to my numerous emails."

"I haven't received any emails...as I said, I am out of town."

I asked him about the portable and he went on and on about how it was only for french and music classes...blah, blah, blah.

In the end, he had slipped up and mentioned something that was in one of my emails. He also agreed that it would be OK for me to meet with the trustee and the construction manager in his absence. Thank you very much.

Several emails to everyone later, they FINALLY realized that I was not going to back down. Relunctantly, they agreed to meet me. The Director of Education, the Trustee, the Construction Manager, my Councillor, myself (and HOPEFULLY, the reporter).

I am SO proud of myself. I did not back down. I was not intimidated. I refused to accept their lame excuses and stalling tactics. I pray that in the end, they will see that I have no hidden agenda, no reason to cause trouble. I am just a Mom who wants to keep her kids and the other kids of the community safe. Can't we all just get along and do what is right???

So, that's where we are at now. Stay tuned for the continuing saaaaagaaaaa...

Saturday, July 31st: I was just advised that our principal (you know, the one that is out of town?) was driving his car around the school yard this morning. Hmm....wonder if he's going to be conveniently back out of town again for Tuesday's meeting. Wonder why he felt the need to come back into town and drive around his school yard. These deceptive, lying, sneaky people are the ones that are teaching our children...in a CATHOLIC school...I feel sick.

Tuesday, August 3rd. Our neighbour Anthony, Hubster and myself met with the Director of Education, the Trustee, my City Councillor and Manager of Construction Services this morning at the school yard. To make a long story short (yeah, I know, way too late at this point...sorry dudes) the portable is being moved. Not far, but at least out of the middle of the school yard. In the photo below, you will see what I mean when I say they are moving it to the far right side, against the grass and in front of the port-a-pac.



It is not the solution that I think is best, but at the very least, the camera at the top corner of the school show in this photo:



will be able to catch some of the back of the portable once it is moved and the other side of the portable can be seen from the main road and the park next to the school. It is still in the primary yard, but it is in the corner, so there is less disruption to the kids' pay area.

According to the Board, the portable was put in the wrong spot by the movers. I find this hard to believe because the plan that they showed us this morning is perfectly clear that the portable is against the grass, but I am going to let that one go. It just adds to my already weak faith in the school board.

So, while I am pleased that they realize how ridiculous the original spot is and that they are moving it, this is a temporary solution. What about next year when we need yet another portable? Are we going to start stacking them on top of one another or are we going to be proactive and extend our port-a-pac? Time will tell. I may be posting another long post like this next August. Watch for it, won't you? Pin It

1 comment:

mapsgirl said...

Good for you for standing up for the kids and the community!

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