It’s long overdue. But at last York Region District School Board trustees have taken their first step to come to grips with the fear, racism, unprofessionalism and disregard of taxpayer dollars that have festered there for years.
On Tuesday evening they ousted the board’s controversial director of education, J. Philip Parappally.
That’s no surprise, considering the scathing criticism aimed at the director in a report released last week. “We do not see evidence of the strong principled relationships that are expected of a director of education,” wrote authors Patrick Case and Suzanne Herbert.
That was an understatement. Case and Herbert, hired by Education Minister Mitzie Hunter to look into complaints about the board, found most senior staff they spoke with had little confidence in Parappally. Some even said he had fostered a “culture of mistrust” by asking them to spy on one another.
They were not alone in their concerns. Some parents, too, complained he was unresponsive and disrespectful.
Now that Parappally is gone, the real hard work of rebuilding respect and trust among staff, parents, trustees, and students at Ontario’s third-largest school board begins.
It won’t be easy. That’s because the trustees assigned the task of cleaning up the mess were themselves found to be “far from strong and ethical” leaders. Indeed, Case and Herbert described the board as dysfunctional and unaccountable. (more...)