New Westminster school board to work with parents to improve grievance process
The New Westminster school district is willing to sit down with parents to make the appeals process speedier for anyone concerned with a teacher's performance, according to a school board trustee.
Over 15 parents showed up to a board committee meeting Jan. 10 to speak about a teacher they say has been handing out too many failing grades. Some of the parents said the procedure for dealing with this matter has forced them to endure non-stop roadblocks for years.
"It's a real concern for me that this seems to have dragged on," said school board trustee Michael Ewen.
"If something occurs involving your student, you have the right to appeal all the way up to the school board and it doesn't have to go through a very long and convoluted process."
Parents approached administration at New Westminster secondary last October about a Grade 11 math teacher they claim has a failure rate of 70 to 80 per cent. The parents said many of them have been expressing these concerns going back to when their older children had the same teacher.
They were told to speak to the teacher first before the principal or vice-principal could address the matter. Unsatisfied after meeting with the teacher, vice-principal and principal, parents approached senior administration at the school district.
Ewen said this is standard practice throughout B.C. in order to protect both students and employees.
But parent Lisa Chao, who attended the Jan. 10 meeting, said the grievance process has been frustrating.
"We approached the board because we have been through the channels we're supposed to (follow)," Chao said, adding that discussions with senior administrators, the principal, the vice-principal and the teacher have not resulted in any changes.
She said her concerns are not just about her own child, but the impact the teacher is having on other NWSS students.
Ewen, a 32-year veteran of the school board, admitted this is the first time he's seen a so many parents approach the school board with the same problem.
"For me it's raised an issue or a question around individual versus group concerns. Obviously this is a larger group concern and our process doesn't actually address that."