someone wrote a letter, eh ...
School receiving support on student's suspension
Matthew Barton, Leader-Post
Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2007
The residents of Wawota, pop. 500, were surprised to see protesters waving signs and shouting into a megaphone Tuesday.
"We can't believe this happened in small-town Wawota," Melanie Taylor, a 17-year-old student at Wawota Parkland School, said Wednesday.
Taylor said she saw five men and two students standing outside the school waving flags and signs. One of the flags resembled the Canadian flag, but instead of a maple leaf, it had a cannabis leaf.
Student Kieran King is the focus of the activity in Wawota. He was suspended from school for three days after disobeying the school's lockdown order during a walkout protest.
King, his brother, members from the Saskatchewan Marijuana Party, a member of the NDP and another person rallied outside the school in the name of freedom of speech.
The 15-year-old student said marijuana is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. Principal Susan Wilson asked King to stop talking about marijuana to students at school. King claimed it was a violation of his right to free speech.
"(Students) don't need to be thinking about marijuana and thinking it's ok. It's something you shouldn't do. I don't think the principal is wrong at all," said Taylor.
The school division stood behind Wilson's decision to suspend King.
"Schools are not public places. They are institutions with expectations of conduct," said Don Rempel, the director of education for the South East Cornerstone School Division.
According to Rempel, principals may suspend a student up to a maximum of 10 days. Suspensions of three days or less can't be appealed by parents and students.
Reasons for suspension can include defiance, profanity, gross misconduct and refusal to accept discipline.
"It was done within the parameters of the Education Act and school division policy. Schools do not support or promote the use of drugs and alcohol," said Rempel.
Students and parents supported Wilson.
"There's a time and a place to say those things and it's not all right on school property. I feel Principal Wilson handled the situation to the best of her ability," said Lisa Myers, the SRC president at Wawota Parkland School.
Dana Fowler's children attend the school. She said students were not threatened by teachers with punishment for disobeying the lockdown. Instead, the lockdown was for the protection and safety of the students.
"Susan Wilson is to be commended. It couldn't have been an easy decision for her. I think she made the right choice," said Fowler.
King's suspension means he will miss his final exams because he's to leave for China today. By missing his exams he will lose 30 per cent of his final marks. His mother is trying to negotiate with the school to have his final exams faxed to the Canadian embassy in Shanghai.
King is an honour student and has marks in the 80s and 90s. He would still pass Grade 10 even with the severely reduced marks.
"I regret getting suspended but I think the walkout was the right thing to do. It was about freedom of speech, not marijuana," said King.
Myers said it could have been done differently.
"He could have done things in a more tasteful manner. I feel it wasn't very good for our school or community," said Myers.
"It wouldn't have gotten the same attention or message out. Freedom of speech was the main reason for the walkout," said King.
the holes, mis-information and hypocrisy in this story are dumbfounding.
but good for you guys! you got a 'journalist' to write an article.
let's see how long it takes any one of us to shred it like cheese.