Board questioned about student ombudsman

By Matthew McCully
Board questioned about student ombudsman

During last week’s Eastern Townships School Board (ETSB) Council of Commissioners meeting, questions were raised about the process in place to challenge a decision made by the student ombudsman.

The questions came on the heels of discussions about Bill 9, a proposition by the provincial government to name a national (provincial) ombudsman and change the way regional ombudsmen are selected to investigate complaints at school boards and service centres.

ETSB Chairman Michael Murray said the Quebec English School Boards Association was concerned that the changes proposed would centralize the complaints process and render the position of an ombudsman part of a bureaucracy rather than be independent and engaged by school boards. He used the example of the ETSB student Ombudsman, Christian Beaudry, who lives on the territory and has a broader sense of the community. He also serves as ombudsman for other local boards.

But during question period, a member of the public referring to Bill 9 asked the board what the current appeal process was for parents that are dissatisfied with an ombudsman report, and what should they do in that regard, “if we’re not going to have a national ombudsman, and why is it not indicated on the Eastern Township School Board website?”

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