Reinstate Lamar Eason as Principal of Bayview Community School
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We, the undersigned, are either:
- Parents of children who attend Bayview Community School (BCS) in Mahone Bay, N.S., which is part of the South Shore Regional Centre for Education (SSRCE); OR
- Parents of children who attend other schools within the SSRCE district; OR
- Tax-paying residents of the area served by the SSRCE;
- The principal of BCS, Lamar Eason, who had just started this year, is a well qualified, culturally responsive, child- and family-centric Principal;
- Lamar Eason was suspended from the position of Principal no later than 9 November 2018, by direct order of Scott Milner, Regional Executive Director of SSRCE, a highly unusual action which is without precedent in the SSRCE;
- The suspension is reportedly due to a complaint about an “incident” that took place while Mr Eason was serving in his previous role as Race Relations, Cross Cultural Understanding and Human Rights (RCH) co-ordinator for the SSRCE;
- There has been no allegation of any violation of standards of professional conduct on the part of Lamar Eason, and it is not actually known what incident the complaint is based on;
- It has been explicitly stated by Craig Pottie, former principal and current vice-principal of BCS, that Mr Eason's suspension was in no way a comment on his fitness or suitability to work with or around children, to wit: "It is important for Bayview parents to note that this complaint has nothing to do with a student, our school or Lamar’s ability as our Principal.";
- The complaint against Mr Eason was filed only after Mr Eason took up his role as Principal at BCS;
- The complaint was filed well past the statutory 90-day limit, since the original incident was alleged to have taken place in May, and therefore would have required special authorization to proceed;
- This special authorization came from Scott Milner;
- Due to a lack of transparency by Scott Milner, it is unknown exactly how the veracity of this complaint against Mr Eason is being substantiated,
- No mention of the suspension of Mr Eason by Mr Milner was made to any parent at the school, by any member of the administration of BCS or SSRCE, an omission that Mr Milner subsequently admitted in an email of 27 November 2018 was the incorrect course of action, to wit: “...we now understand that some form of communication should have been sent out to inform you of the principal’s absence and our plans to support and ensure the school would continue moving forward.”;
- Knowledge of this suspension did not become public until 26 November 2018, when this information surfaced on social media, thus creating the first instance in which many BCS parents were informed of his suspension;
- An email sent out by Scott Milner on 26 November 2018 concerning report cards made no mention of the suspension of Mr Eason, even though by this point the issue and the corresponding gag order on all personnel privy to the information was common knowledge;
- It is unclear what the purpose of the suspension is other than to punish Mr Eason, since it has not been stated whether any investigation into the alleged incident that sparked the suspension has actually been undertaken;
- A climate of fear has been created at BCS, with students being told that the situation cannot be discussed, which is contrary to the open spirit in which childhood education must be conducted;
- We would like to know if there is any conflict of interest arising from any personal connection between Scott Milner and the individual who filed the complaint against Lamar Eason.
All these things being true, WE THE UNDERSIGNED DEMAND OR INTEND TO SEEK:
- The immediate and unconditional reinstatement of Lamar Eason as principal of BCS;
- An immediate investigation into the conduct and motives of Scott Milner in this matter, including whether he may have had any personal motives for seeking Mr Eason's suspension;
- An investigation by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission to determine whether Mr Eason's rights have been abridged, abrogated, or violated in any way by the actions of Scott Milner, including his right to free speech as guaranteed by Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, his right to speedy resolution of complaints, and the statutory limit of 90 days in which complaints may be made about Nova Scotia Education staff;
- An investigation by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission into whether institutionalized racial bias played a role in Mr Eason’s suspension;
- Should any of these investigations find that Scott Milner suspended Lamar Eason without just cause, and that there was in fact any conflict of interest, Scott Milner must resign his position as Regional Executive Director of the SSRCE without delay.
We further demand that a written response to this petition be received from each of the recipients named above no later than 12 noon on Friday, December 7, 2018, and that Mr Eason’s full and unconditional reinstatement as Principal of Bayview Community School take place no later than Friday, December 14, 2018.
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