Summer winds down and another school year begins tomorrow.  This is a different experience for me.  When I get my camera out I won’t be taking the picture of an elementary or secondary school student.  I’ll be taking the picture of a college student…and yes he’ll expect me to take a picture.

My son is off to Georgian College.  My daughter studied at Ryerson University several years ago. My years of parent teacher interviews and hot dog days and dioramas and planners and School Community Council are over.  Sweet freedom!  And I have earned it.

I’m concerned about students who have to endure bullying, who’s valuable educational time is wasted because programs are not implemented due to power struggles, students that go to school hungry because they live in poverty, students under stress due to domestic violence at home….and the list goes on.

We can’t solve all of these problems but the educational issues are the responsibility of the school board.  The Bluewater District School Board has experienced some very public problems recently.  The root of these issues as I see it is poor communication and a desire for control.  There is enough blame to spread around.  Parents, teachers, superintendents, directors and trustees need to do several things.  They need to listen and they need to put aside their differences for the welfare of the students. That’s what it is all about.

For both boards…encourage teachers to follow protocol so students get the services they need.  Identify needs and make referrals for resources right away.  Use board meetings for effective dialogue. That should ensure that positive change will impact the classroom.  And finally, listen to parents.  They know their childrens’ needs better than anyone else.  If they have constructive criticism take it, act on it and learn from it.

Parents, if a problem arises, go to the teacher, the principal, then the board and trustees. Don’t waste time, but follow the proper channels.  Be persistent.  That is the best approach.

Wishing all the new students, parents and caregivers a happy and safe school year. There will be problems, but that’s to be expected. Hopefully this years’ biggest challenge will be forgetting your hot dog order form and wondering what you’ll have for lunch.

If you need information about community services for your family or a friend call 211. It’s available to everyone 24 hours a day.

The Kids Help Phone number is 1-888-6868 if you or a friend need it.


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