Pubdate: Tue, 03 Mar 2009
Source: Peterborough Examiner, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Ralph L. De Groot


Re "Student rights lost in the balance" (Editorial,Feb. 27) - I
deplore the use of illegal drugs by anyone, young or old.

I support all reasonable measures intended to address the problem.
That support does not include adopting what would appear to be the
misguided understanding by principal Dinise Severin and school board
superintendent Rusty Hick of the place of the provincial Education Act
and the Safe Schools Act. Provincial legislation always remains
subordinate to the Charter unless the Charter's notwithstanding clause
was invoked in its creation. That is not the case here.

The principal allegedly is of the opinion that she can act as a
"judicious parent" by conducting an investigation (even where police
find no justifiable grounds for doing so) for things that happen off
school property outside of school time. The superintendent claims that
to be true by stating that, "Even if something happened in the summer,
we have that authority under the Education Act."

Both seem to claim they have the right to search and seize, to
question and demand statements of minors with the view of obtaining
incriminating evidence without a parent, guardian or counsel present
or even without notifying them, and thereafter impose expulsion from
school. Both appear to say that relevant Charter provisions do not
apply to them and that their jurisdiction is unlimited as to place or
time, all because they claim the Education Act gives them that authority.

The l998 Supreme Court decision does not address a school official
conducting an independent after-the-fact investigation for suspect
behaviour outside of or away from school and outside of school time,
gathering possibly forced statements and cell phone evidence and than
acting on the findings without any drugs having been found.

I believe we all have a duty to object to unreasonable intrusions such
as this and the resultant abuse of power associated therewith or the
potential for it.

Ralph L. De Groot

Albertus Avenue
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin