Monday, September 13, 2010

NDSS injunction decision

As promised in a comment earlier today, here's the unedited complete judgment rendered in the Friends of NDSS request for an injunction to Niagara District Secondary School's closure last month.
In it, the judge essentially tells the appellants that he's rejecting their request based on the fact there were two years between when the board of trustees at the District School Board of Niagara made its decision on NDSS and when the request for an injunction came forth. The request came to the court after the effective closure date of the school in June, with the judge noting that to reverse that decision in late August would cause no end of turmoil to the students and staff members who found new homes to learn and teach and work in since June.
From the judgment:
It is readily understandable that the applicants would be reluctant to commence legal proceedings especially in view of the expense or potential expense. That however is not a sufficient explanation for a 2-year delay, especially when possible legal proceedings were mentioned at a board meeting in the fall of 2009...
A Divisional Court Panel, faced with a 'final' ruling and resolution of the board, on an administrative decision, where meticulous procedural fairness has been executed, is most unlikely to intervene. This is especially so because the standard of review is reasonableness. There is a privative provision -- the ruling is 'final.' The decision is an administrative one by board members who are publicly elected to make the very tough decisions they had to make. The board has expertise and knowledge in dealing with such difficult decisions in its region and in balancing all the factors and needs of the community.
These two paragraphs (9 and 48) are particularly damning to any decision by the Friends to continue on with their intent to see this through a judicial review. While this judge dismissed an injunction on the school's closure based on the fact the appellants sat on their heels for two years, he showed no fear of hearing much of the evidence that would likely be presented to the divisional review panel and speaking to it.
This is another opportunity for some sober second thought on whether it's time to accept the decisions that have been made even if you disagree with them and just move on. Dozens of other communities across Ontario have done the same in the past three months as their former schools closed and new ones attended.