Truth, Justice and Responsible Communication

You be the judge. Here is a hypothetical scenario to test your comprehension skills. And, at the end of this fake news show, like The Donald, you get to say, “You’re hired,” or “You’re FIRED!”

Here we go:  Principal A holds a local parent information night on the same night that the School Board is holding a board-wide meeting on Safe Sex Education. A colleague, Principal B from another area, attends the local meeting hosted by Principal A rather than the Board-wide presentation. Both Principals later claimed that they knew everything there was to teach about Safe Sex.

A variety of local and board wide information is presented at Principal A’s meeting which is attended by a very small group of parents.

The next day, social media is aflame with reports that the School Board is squandering funds to provide public bus transportation for students from outside the area to a local private school. Parents write that they are “very disappointed” that the Director is spending thousands of their local dollars to fund this private transportation for spoiled, ethnically diverse rich kids.

Worse than that, after years of trying to get a new soccer field for the students, the parents have discovered that the Board is dragging their feet on an arrangement with a local resident to have the new soccer field extended onto her property.

Now, although the parents who attended the meeting the night before claim they heard this information being presented and  discussed, and although the parents put out their complaints on social media, and although the local press picked up the story from social media and ran with it, it turns out that none of it was true.

There was never any public school funded transportation to the local private school. Period. The soccer field deal with the local neighbour had to be settled by the Ministry of Education and not the local school board. Period. Although both Principals in attendance could have clarified this at the meeting, they apparently did not, leaving parents so confused and misinformed that they vented their falsely aroused frustrations on the school board Director.

Now, you might be concerned that if information this simple can get screwed up so badly, what about the nuances of world history, quadratic equations, Shakespearean plays, and Safe Sex Education. Yes, you might be very concerned, and so was the Director of Education. The Director, acting responsibly, asked the Supervisory Officer to look into the situation. Unlike teachers, Principals are not protected by a Union – they can get fired by Supervisory Officers for not doing their jobs properly.

Further research revealed that this was not the first time that Principal B had been called up on the carpet, in fact twice before for unprofessional behaviour. As well, not the first time that Principal A had been associated with communicating misinformation like, “There’s a bomb in the school – we’re all going to die!” (There was no bomb – a primary student merely had explosive flatulence.)

In the end, a partial apology and clarification was made by Principal A, a histrionic defense of innocence was performed by Principal B, and the Supervisory Officer carried out no further disciplinary action on either one. It is not clear at the time of going to print if the Principals have made their apologies to the Director of Education or the parents for the embarrassment and confusion caused by their lack of clarity at a public meeting. Nor is it clear why Principal A called a meeting on the same night as an important Board-wide public information meeting, or why Principal B was even in attendance at Principal A’s meeting.

Now, let us pretend that your children are students in one of those schools led by Principal A and Principal B. You will get to decide if the Principals return to your schools or not. Choose carefully because your children’s future depends on a thoughtful and informed decision. You can decide to keep one or both Principals employed by the Board in the same or other schools, or you can reassign one or both of them for the next school year. To a galaxy far, far away ….

What’s it going to be … hired or FIRED? You be the judge.

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Skid Crease, Caledon

 

 

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