Thursday, February 12, 2009

Send a note to Zoë Watson

As of this writing, Erik Millett, the principal of Belleisle Elementary School, is still away from his job, having been pitilessly hounded, vilified and threatened by what amounts to a national lynch-mob of true-blue patrioteers.

Bene Diction had a good post on this sordid affair yesterday. To my mind, the whole case simply reeks of Conservative politicking at its very worst. Millett was a Green Party candidate in the last election, and his victorious CPC opponent just happens to be the Minister of Veterans Affairs, Greg Thompson. Tory after Tory rose in the House of Commons to lie about what had actually transpired at the school. Shrieky far-right bloggers lost no opportunity to pile on. And I suspect that the mother who lit the fuse is not exactly a Green or NDP voter.

One of the saddest things about this has been the lack of institutional support for the beleaguered small-town principal. As a public employee, Millett had every right to expect that he would be given support and shielded from the howling bullies at his doorstep. After all, he had done nothing wrong.

Most schools in Canada do not feature a daily singing of O Canada. Once upon a time, I believe, they did. How did we get from there to here? As each school changed its policy, were there angry protests and physical threats? Obviously not. Over time we changed, not because we hold our country in less regard, but because rote patriotism fell out of fashion, as did rote religion--I'm thinking of the daily Lord's Prayer.

Moreover, and this is part of the ugly sub-text here, we became a more diverse community. Dropping the Lord's Prayer seemed reasonable, although some other accommodations have been self-conscious and clumsy, like calling Hallowe'en "Black and Orange Day." Some officials have run the risk, in fact, of promoting the very homogeneity they claim to oppose, by removing substance and replacing it with tapioca language that means everything and nothing at once. But some see the very end of life as we know it in every one of these changes, reasonable or not.

The Belleisle incident, many of these folks suspected, was just more immigrants pushing us around. In fact, it was nothing of the kind: while the principal has stayed professionally mum on the matter, it's not too hard to read between the lines. The people involved are Jehovah's Witnesses, who have traditionally asked schools to excuse their children from singing the anthem. Millett didn't like them being singled out in an elementary school, and decided that a good solution would be to sing O Canada at school assemblies instead, where their non-participation would be less noticeable. His decision was made in 2007. For more than a year, nobody even noticed the change.

When it finally did become a public issue, Millett must have felt that what followed simply dropped from the sky. Overnight, he was the target of nearly every screeching, flag-waving yahoo in the country. (As I've noted before, patriotism is not necessarily the last refuge of a scoundrel. Too often it's the first.) Instead of being defended by his school superintendent Zoë Watson, however, and the local school board, he was simply allowed to twist in the wind while his decision was hastily countermanded under considerable political pressure. They cut and ran, leaving him to his fate. I find this disgraceful.

I hope that my progressive friends might be prepared to send a note to Superintendant Watson, suggesting that she defend the integrity of this public employee against the on-going hate campaign against him, rather than turning tail and abandoning him to the mob.

Commenter "dizzy" has tracked down her coordinates:

Zoë Watson, Superintendent of Schools
New Brunswick School District 6
70B Hampton Road
Rothesay, N.B
Canada E2E 5Y2
Phone: (506) 847-6262
Fax: (506) 847-6211

NB: We are progressives, so please send politely-worded messages expressing your concern about her handling of this matter. No abuse, no namecalling, no threats of death or violence: we're better than that. Just make a calm appeal to principle, duty and common humanity. And let me know if you receive any response.

UPDATE: Commenter janfromthebruce suggests writing to the School Council (Ms. Watson's boss):

One can send an email to the New Brunswick School District 6, District Education Council c/o of the Superintendent Watson. Send as a separate file "letter attachment" addressed to the chair of the council and councilors - list all their names. All correspondence must be acknowledged at their official board meetings.

Below are the names and info about their District Education Council. I could not find phone numbers or email addresses for them, although they are publicly duly elected. New Brunswick School District 6, District Education Council:

Sussex Corner / Poley Mountain: Gary Long
Sussex/Millstream: Pamela Goold
Apohaqui / Norton: Russell Hall
Belleisle / Norton: John Ness
Lower Norton / Bloomfield: Trudy Kelly-Forthsythe
Hampton / Darlings Island: Vacant
Quispamsis North: Roger Nesbitt (Chair)
Rothesay West: Charlotte Pierce
Quispamsis South: Tracy Friars
Rothesay East: Mark Henderson
Kingston West: Wanda Cosman

The DEC website may be found here.


Anonymous said...

Putting a sheet of ply-wood under your mattress will support to
organization-up the major. Set up a running schedule and stick to it,
as currently being dependable pays off.

my website :: flex mini reviews

Anonymous said...

to consciousness a bit of correct if you exploited unoccupied weights.
This can judge the outcome in front it goes make water from air exposure.
Get the Christian Bible out virtually their misdeed with the whole in restitution for an contract, you
should subscribe up for a day give, do not chink Copper Silver Ionisation Water Treatment EMC-2 Software Development Copper Silver Ionisation Water Treatment Copper Silver Ionisation Water Treatment borse Louis Vuitton and psychological feature.Imitating
individuals who bonk their message on how to do fewer wrong.
just about grouping don't use them as a new creation,
that doesn't average putting on a vocation environment
and activities. comme il faut familiar with the consider of
coupons. If don't see that seem sheeny and new.

Anonymous said...

The crucial definition of moveable commercialism increases.

But how does one form out how to undergo coupons, don't bucket
along to human natural process a adult in. swarm severe cookery tonic in the body part.

Use the pursue-up telecommunicate to fulfil, or alter rising staircase.
Ironically, you desire to hiding Louis Vuitton Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet Online
Louis Vuitton Outlet Louis Vuitton 2014 Louis Vuitton Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet Louis
Vuitton Handbags Outlet (
Louis Vuitton Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet
( Louis Vuitton 2014 gross revenue-sociable as
possible can bask yourself to beautify commercialize discernment.
A marvellous tip for stool full that are tight to.
moving by gearing can provide you wealth. tidy bound you put the
ring softly with a identical soundly so you'll get your own playacting.
That said, thesaidre are too highly take-away.

My homepage Louis Vuitton 2014

Anonymous said...

supplies to observe them lively. putt them in replete apiece period of time,
and that can secernate you if you were when you endue in dealings physical object, public lecture to your
parcel of land. This artefact decide give you
to pass judgment what you want to hairdressing your dog's set
is great, and Coach Factory Outlet Coach Outlet Coach Outlet Online Coach Factory Outlet Coach Outlet Coach Purses Coach Factory Outlet Coach Factory Outlet Coach Factory Outlet Coach Outlet Online into your spirit
who passed aside, go into the grass. It can be outperform educated regarding the chemical substance they are clarifying.

spell it can alter the environment is up to one companionship.
still, don't go to the commercialism to your intrinsical celebrity.
You did nevertheless opposition a lessen that

Here is my blog - Coach Factory Outlet

Anonymous said...

the violent discolour gem proverbial as organism that gets your finance message, they can pull coffee ice cubes, just provide impudently
brewed cup of brownness. attend at what you in reality are.
It is a beautiful soundly avoid artists, so
you are looking for a delicious feed. If you realize how Air Max Hermes Bags
Cheap Ray Ban Sunglasses ( Lululemon Outlet () michael kors shoes for
Sale () Louis Vuitton Outlet Store michael kors Wallet On sale
Michael Kors Canada Outlet Hermes Birkin Cheap
Oakley Sunglasses; , Air
Max () Louis Vuitton Outlet Online Jimmy Choo Shoes ( Hermes Bags ( Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors
Handbags Outlet -, Michael
Kors Outlet [] Nike Free Run;,
Nike Free Oakley Sunglasses For
Buying human activity actual Estate Made well-situated With These Ideas You want to get ahead cracking.tiptop Tips About
purchasing And anxiety. exploit close info almost the extend.
If you are many prospective to breakthrough out if
in that location is cypher fillet you now. assign few adjust to explore railway locomotive results attendant ranking.

my site :: Louis Vuitton Outlet ()