By James Wastasecoot –
September 12, 2023 – School principal Scott Powers and three other senior administrators who resigned last week following a parents’ meeting in which some citizens voiced their preferences to have qualified local educators working in the school rather than outsiders – one band member used the word “monia” – white man in Ojibway – are reinstated in their positions following a 4-hour meeting with the council yesterday. The meeting included a dozen elders who spoke at length about the issues plaguing the school following the devastating flood of 2022 and the COVID 19 epidemic, both of which contributed to shortened school years and a decline in a school spirit and academics. The school year will restart Wednesday Sept. 13 with a meeting of students and staff with school superintendent Betty Anne McIvor and School/community liaison, Cindy Spence of Peguis School Board present.
Chief Stan Bird said the meeting with the elders was a necessary step. “We have to trust the process to the administrators,” he said. “ It’s important that we take the time to talk to everyone. It’s so important to have our elders involved. Our elders are the voice of reason.”
At a packed community hall Sept. 8 chief Stan Bird and his council consulted his people on what they thought should be happen now. The verdict was given by Bev Cameron, EA, who said, “Give people a chance on this reserve. It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black or .” 269 is the designated band number of Peguis under the Indian Act, used by the 269 protest movement that ousted Glenn Hudson on April 6, 2023. Cameron was followed by a number of parents, teachers and administration staff who spoke in favour of the reinstatement of the 4 administrators and for school to resume as soon as possible.
Peguis council instructed Cindy Spence, recently hired as the School/Community Liaison worker to meet with staff and prepare recommendations. Spence read out a list of improvements which included:
- update the emergency plan to include a command centre for administration,
- develop communication message templates for parents and staff to be posted during and after any incident that occurs (using Facebook, SMS, or email)
- have traffic flow pathways for parents that are picking up students and the bus area to be clear,
- all of the key locks should not be change the swipeable fobs,
- upgrade and replace any security cameras that need replacing and add more where needed, like outside
- purchase radio systems to strengthen communications among admin and emergency staff,
- increase safety officers
Spence’s recommendations are in a report she is preparing for the council and school administration.