Oh, what an eventful week it’s been for the Halifax Regional School Board. It all started with the reassignment of Gordon Young, who up until last Thursday had been the board’s director of programs. Young had also been the principal of Halifax West High School five years ago during the incident involving teacher Lindsay Willow, who was wrongly accused of molesting a female student. In the aftermath of Willow’s human rights case, which only recently concluded, Young had been ordered to apologize to Willow. He refused. The situation was made even more uncomfortable by Young’s former job duties, which included overseeing human rights issues. Awkwaaaard. Young went to the board last Wednesday to ask for the reassignment, which superintendent Carole Olsen reportedly described not as a demotion, but as more of a “lateral transfer.” Young’s new title (and we do mean new—the school board specifically created the position for Young in the wake of his request for reassignment): administrator of special projects.
Speaking of human rights and special projects, the school board had also been taking heat last week for a survey that requested teachers to anonymously disclose their sexual orientation. Under pressure from the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, Superintendent Olsen re-stressed on Tuesday that only part of the survey was mandatory, and that the sections asking about race, disability, languages spoken and sexual orientation were to be filled out only on a voluntary basis. The board has justified the survey as a means to help them be “more inclusive” and to offer a “snapshot of their workforce.” My, they are a curious bunch.
As if all that wasn’t enough, the board is also trying to recoup lost property from former board member Peggy Draper, who is currently facing charges in provincial court on 17 counts of fraud, theft and forgery. Draper was formally dismissed from the board in February for “missing too many meetings,” but the school board says she has yet to return $2,559.34 worth of equipment, including a desktop computer and a laptop.
So, plenty going on with the school board. Too bad most of it seems only vaguely related to the actual delivery of education. Won’t somebody please think of the children?
An update on former Coast cover subject Gabrielle Horne…Dalhousie University president Tom Traves has finally approved heart researcher Horne’s application for promotion from assistant to associate professor of medicine—four years after she applied for it. Dalhousie put the application on a back-burner in fall 2002 after the Capital District Health Authority took away Horne’s hospital privileges over what appears to have been a personality conflict (The Coast, May 4, 2006). The good news is that Dal’s decision means it no longer buys the CDHA allegations. The bad news: the health authority still hasn’t restored Dr. Horne’s privileges or what has been described as a “globally pioneering” cardiac research program.
Hey, the World Cup starts on Friday. Expect global insanity, stretching to nearly every corner of this vast planet—with the possible exception of Canada Canada’s current world ranking: 83, behind such dominant world powers as Togo, Qatar and Oman. But hey, eat our dust, Burkina Faso! (I bet we’d watch if the Oilers entered a team.)