Friday, September 11, 2009

Bluewater update #9

It's been a while since there was one of these, but some interesting information has come out in the past few days. First, Owen Sound reported a few days ago the Bluewater District School Board would take no further action against two staff members -- Alana Murray and Jean Stephenson -- despite a ruling from the Ontario College of Teachers' disciplinary committee.
Copies of the college's decisions previously obtained by The Sun Times said superintendent Alana Murray was to be admonished in writing by the college for "failing to acknowledge or attribute where the information was obtained to support an article associated with her that was published in the Nov. 2008 issue of Make it Your Business," a local chamber of commerce publication.
Superintendent Jean Stephenson, credited as co-author of the article, was to receive a caution in writing from the college "to exercise good judgment in all circumstances and is reminded that teachers are significant role models in our society."
The college said it was up to the board to decide if either woman should have stepped down.
This was followed up in the paper with a piece with the reaction of the original complainant, Peter Ferguson, who, no surprise, is disgusted the board is not disciplining its superintendents in any meaningful way.
According to board chairwoman Jennifer Yenssen, the trustees decided not to pursue any further action based on legal advice and the fact that the college didn’t recommend the matters go before a disciplinary committee.
“The college could have taken further action if they deemed it necessary, but they didn’t,” said Yenssen.
“Basically we interpret what happened to them as a warning. We now want to move forward realizing that plagiarism is a very serious issue.”
Yenssen added the trustees consider the college ruling to be a “dismissal” because it didn’t go before a disciplinary committee, despite the fact that both Murray and Stephenson were admonished and cautioned, respectively.
The trustees will now begin the process of developing a board-wide plagiarism policy that will also apply to Bluewater staff members. Currently, each school has a individual plagiarism policy that applies to students.
This has, again no surprise, drawn suitable reaction from the online community over at MendEd. It also provides another snapshot of the reasons why this board is in a quagmire -- having seen one trustee chair resign, a pair of fix-its appointed by the Ministry of Education, two mediated public sessions, the hiring of a communications officer and a report pending on Sept. 22. From how the board handled rotary instruction in the intermediate grades to this latest peek at staff members' inappropriate behaviour, the public's view into this board keeps getting better.
Especially since, apparently, the director of education and trustees at the BDSB believe it's OK to have their senior administrators -- supervisors and mentors to principals and those who set the tone for professional practice and instruction in all the board's schools -- plagiarize the work of others. In Bruce and Grey counties' public schools, employees are allowed to lie and pass off another's property as their own, and receive nothing more than a slap on the wrist and a wagging finger saying "you should have known better, don't do it again."


Anonymous said...

"..the public's view into this board is getting better"

Yes ER and what they're seeing sure isn't pretty.

I'm stunned at the lightweight hand tap on the plagarizing decision.

This board needs an entire fresh slate it seems.

It also doesn't seem like any of the list of actions taken to help things out has helped much.

I guess when that board starts bleeding students to the Catholic board or into the choices they have there what needs to be done will be done. Whatever that is?

Anonymous said...

Just caught up with what's shaking at mended and I have to wonder if anything's been worked out at all over the summer?

Sure are many disgruntled folks there..or at least those who are speaking out.

I never could grasp whether the issues are widespread or whether they're being spun to appear so?

It seems that the Bruce side of the board is the more vocal with nothing much coming from the Grey side.