There is turmoil and unanswered questions in a Manitoba school division this week, after the board’s superintendent was suddenly dismissed, and three trustees walked off the job all in a matter of days.

On Monday, the Mountain View School Division (MVSD) released a statement on their website confirming that Stephen Jaddock had been removed from his role as superintendent of the Dauphin-based school division, but gave no indication as to why the decision was made.

The division released a second statement on Tuesday morning confirming that on Monday MVSD “long time” trustees Leifa Misko, Floyd Martens, and Scott McCallum had all tendered their resignations from the board effective immediately.

In her resignation letter which was sent to the Winnipeg Sun, Misko said, “over the years, trustees may not have always agreed, and had different visions, but there was always respect and a willingness to work together for the greater good of all students and their families.

“However, this year, the environment at the board table has made it very difficult to properly represent all the students and communities of MVSD. Not all voices are respected or welcomed. It has reached the point where it is no longer effective to remain sitting as a MVSD School Board Trustee. I truly wish this was not the case.”

The Winnipeg Sun has learned that Jaddock was removed from the superintendent position after the board held a special meeting on Friday, where trustees Jason Gryba, John Taylor, Kerri Wieler, and Paul Coffey voted in favour of his removal.

Gryba, Taylor, Wieler, and Coffey all did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday, and the board’s chair Gabe Mercier also did not respond to a request for comment, now leaving more questions than answers in the division that is already at the centre of a controversy that began earlier this year.

In late April, Coffey, one of the trustees who voted to oust Jaddock, made a presentation to the board that many have called racist, as he made claims in his presentation that residential schools were “good,” and he defended the use of the word “Indian” when referring to Indigenous people, and used the term multiple times while speaking.

That presentation led to Education Minister Nello Altomare announcing in April he would conduct a provincial governance review regarding MVSD and Coffey’s presentation and comments. That review is still ongoing.

There are now also unconfirmed accusations being levelled by the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) that Jaddock was removed in part due to him allowing a Pride Parade that was held in Dauphin on Saturday to begin on the grounds of a MVSD school.

“The MMF’s Northwest Region sponsored the second annual successful Pride Parade in Dauphin on Saturday. Unfortunately, the event was overshadowed by the MVSD superintendent’s abrupt dismissal the night before,” MMF said in a media release.

“Northwest Regional leadership and Citizens were deeply concerned by reports within the community that the superintendent’s dismissal was at least partly in reaction to the Pride parade beginning on school grounds.”

MMF said they are also concerned about the “ongoing dysfunction” at the division and about “recent demonstrations of intolerance and racism, and how these affect our children, youth and families.”

In a statement Altomare said the province continues their governance review of the division, but would not comment on this week’s dismissal and resignations at the school division.

“Manitoba parents expect school divisions to provide a safe and welcoming environment where children can learn and succeed, regardless of who they are.” Altomare said.

“We have undertaken a governance review of Mountain View School Division. This review is ongoing and was initiated in response to concerns from the community.”

— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

By Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 04, 2024 at 19:04

This item reprinted with permission from    The Sun    Winnipeg, Manitoba
Comments are Welcome - Leave a reply below - Posts are moderated