Pubdate: Mon, 23 Mar 2009
Source: Peterborough Examiner, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Beth McCubbin
Note: Beth McCubbin is a concerned citizen. Many signatures of 
support accompanied this letter


In November, six boys from Peterborough Collegiate Vocational School 
were suspended for being involved with marijuana. After obtaining 
confessions through isolated, threatening and misguided 
interrogations, five were expelled.

One of these boys I've know since he was a year-and-a-half old. He is 
a close friend of my son, and this was his first school "offence." 
I've met all the boys involved, all friends of my son. They are good 
kids, struggling through their teenage years just as we all did. Now 
none of them can finish Grade 12 at the high school that they chose 
because the school administration doesn't want them around and has 
decided they are bad people - not worth more effort.

Since the suspensions more and more people have heard about the story 
at PCVS and there is a growing concern that something is not right in 
the school system.

This system is having a terrible effect on our children. New laws 
came into effect in 2007 giving schools, and in particular the 
principal and vice principal, supreme power. These laws, which our 
children are subjected to, give schools more freedom of action than 
even our constitutional laws give the police. Principals and 
vice-principals are allowed to search and interrogate students at any 
time without parental consent, or without any student support . They 
can use any form of information as evidence whether it is reliable or 
not, obtained in any way they want.

Over the past year or so, I have heard of and spoken with many 
teenagers who are begrudgingly attending school, are deeply 
discouraged and feel assaulted instead of assisted at school. Many of 
these kids are dropping out of their homes and schools desperately 
trying to escape how "society" is making them feel.

I believe it is the role of a school and a community to support 
teenagers during the (natural) period when they question their roles 
within society and question the system and authority. I believe that 
allowing young people to become hopeless and helpless within society 
brings about only more hopeless, helpless, unproductive, uncreative 
citizens in a world crying out for enthusiasm, hard work, community 

Last week another teenage friend in our small downtown community was 
caught at school in possession of marijuana. He too was searched and 
interrogated by the vice-principal, alone, and then arrested by the 
police. This student is an avid athlete with a rowing scholarship and 
has always been a great participant in school politics and 
activities. Now he too will be expelled from the system which is 
supposedly in place to teach and guide our children.

Those who are blinded by the fact that marijuana is the common thread 
in this story really need to open their eyes. Keeping young people 
safe within the school system is imperative, as is guiding our youth 
to act within the social and legal rules of our society - but this is 
not what has been happening in our high schools. We need to come 
together as a community to reevaluate our school systems; society is 
changing and we need to change with it. Thank goodness these poor 
boys have brought to light the fact that we no longer have any 
control over the experiences and education our children are getting, 
or lack there of.

Maybe you are a parent of a teenager, or have a younger child, or are 
a grandparent, or perhaps have no children whatsoever, it doesn't 
matter, this is our problem, all of ours. Please speak up, pay 
attention, get involved!

Beth McCubbin
- ---
MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart