School board elections don’t normally get a lot of attention, and that’s exactly how some people like it, but what happens when parents organize and start advocating for the kind of school board they want? Will that have a visible impact on the chronically, and criminally, underlooked school board elections? One group of Halton Region parents certainly hope so.
You have have seen the news last summer when the Halton Catholic District School Board voted against flying the Pride flag. The motion to approve flying of the flag was the initiative of Grade 12 student Nic Hotchkiss at Oakville’s St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Secondary School, and they had the backing of 18,000 people who signed a petition supporting it. This was not a secular versus Catholic issue, but that’s how it ended up phrased at the board.
On top of that, far-right groups like Campaign Life Coalition and Parents As First Educator were trying to influence the school board when the motion came up again in January. From candidates making ludicrous claims about schools putting litter boxes in classrooms for kids identifying as cast to local candidates supporting white replacement theory, can a political advocacy group make any kind of difference in a political realm where so few people pay attention?
Allison Kolch, who is one of the organizers of a political action group called Halton Parents for Change, has made that her project, and she will talk to us this week about how she’s doing it. Kolch will talk about the especially problematic trustees, the friction between secular education and denominational rights, and what the young people themselves think of their trustee representatives. She will also discuss the issues of importance this election, and whether the group has had any impact on the campaign trail.
So let’s talk about politics on the school board in this edition of the Guelph Politicast!
You can learn more about Halton Parents For Change at their website, and you can find links there to some of the issues and articles that we’re talking about on this podcast. In terms of our own school board elections, early voting continues this weekend, and you can find all the information on how and when at vote.guelph.ca. You can also see school board candidate questionnaires on Guelph Politico.
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Photo Courtesy of the Halton Catholic District School Board.
***This article has been update to correctly gender Nic Hotchkiss.