Wednesday, February 13, 2013

BC Civil Liberties Association to keep an eye on SD 52 T shirt controversy

Will School District 52 one day have to defend its position on tee shirts in court?

While unlikely at the moment, that could be one option for the BC Civil Liberties Association, which is keeping a watchful eye on the simmering controversy between school administrators, the School District Board and some members of the Prince Rupert District Teachers Union.

As we outlined on the blog earlier this month, the BCCLA recently took interest in the developments over the issue of what constitutes a political statement,  sparked to action when the issue boiled over with the recent ban on the wearing of tee shirts by teachers, shirts which featured a passage of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms from the Canadian Constitution.

Earlier this month the BC Civil Liberties Association forwarded a letter of concern to the School District over the issue and their correspondence was the topic of discussion (item 5.1.2 of agenda) at the School District meeting of Tuesday night.

On Wednesday morning, the prospect of further action from the BC Civil Liberties Association over the School District edict against the constitutional themed tee shirts, was raised by Josh Paterson of the organization.

He shared his thoughts with the CBC radio program Daybreak North, offering up some observations on what he had learned of the Tuesday night meeting of School District 52.

As Mr. Paterson points out, some of that discussion was relayed through the twitter feed of PRDTU President Joanna Larson, who offered up some of the play by play of last night's School District meeting.

In his interview with the CBC, Hamilton expressed disappointment in the tone of the School District response and with the prospect that the School District was planning to just file the letter, without further action or reply planned to the Association.

The opinion of the BCCLA is that the School District is a government and has over stepped its authority on this particular clothing issue, which according to Hamilton may now be moving towards the grievance stage at the School District level.

While they haven't apparently formulated any further plan of action, the BC Civil Liberties Association will apparently be watching closely the further developments over the ongoing issues between the PRDTU and the Prince Rupert School District.

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