Parents call into question board’s process for accommodation review

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Ottawa Community News has published an article about Friends of Rideau High’s effort to petition the Ontario government about the flawed process concerning pupil accommodation review.

The article notes that Friends of Rideau High have launched a petition and a request to the province’s Ministry of Education, asking the ministry to review the school board’s process to decide to close the school.

The petition and request call upon the provincial Ministry of Education to order an administrative review of the board’s process following the decision to close Rideau High.

According to the ministry, when participants believe that the school board’s process did not comply with its Pupil Accommodation Review policy,they may submit a formal request to the ministry for an administrative review of the process.

The community’s reason behind the petition and the request is simple — the petitioners and others surrounding the school believe that the review process was flawed in a number of ways, including:

  • Limited scope
  • Ineffective consultation and outreach
  • Limited, faulty and, in some cases, missing information and analysis to inform consultation and decision-making

According to the president of the Overbrook Community Association, Rawlson King, the newly formed Friends of Rideau High School believes that the school should remain open to provide a local education option for youth in the neighbourhood.

“With secondary school dropout rates higher in Vanier, Overbrook and Castle Heights than in other parts of the city of Ottawa, along with high numbers of Syrian refugees and Indigenous youth attending the school, we believe Rideau High School is absolutely essential to improving educational outcomes and increasing the life skills and opportunities of our local youth,” King said.

The Friends of Rideau High School is a joint “social action” partnership between the Overbrook Community Association, the Vanier Community Association and the Pro-Active Education for All Children’s Enrichment (PEACE) organization, and represents scores of community activists, parents and students, along with thousands of concerned neighbourhood residents.

The group highlights the flaws by noting that feeder schools were excluded from the review,  and that other reasonable options were ignored.

King said the group’s analysis of the board’s process found that the board did not conduct a meaningful consultation, adding that at public meetings during the review, views, data and public concerns were excluded.

The group added the online consultation forum, which was described by the board as a “key method of consultation,” was ineffective for non-English-speaking parents and parents with no computers.

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