My name is Michelle Myers, and I am writing this letter in response to the Halifax Regional School Board “seating scandal”. I am writing not only as a former student and President of Cole Harbour District High School, but also a concerned mother of two (in separate school districts).
I’m not sure if “disgust” would be the appropriate word to describe how I feel about Mr. Doug Sparks’ pathetic cry for media attention, trying to score votes just in time for the next provincial election. If that was his intent, maybe he should have considered filming himself participating in a food drive for the Metro Food Bank or picking up garbage on the side of the road.
Seating arrangements in a school board meeting, in my opinion, is far from comparable to Rosa Parks refusing to move to the back of the bus. I know for a fact that students of all ages and races learn about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. I would like to remind Mr. Sparks that February is African Heritage Month, and that doesn’t go unnoticed in any school I’ve ever been in. Mr. Sparks should be embarrassed for referencing anyone in OUR history who has made a difference in the equality of the HUMAN RACE (yes, I did just include everyone in ONE race…imagine that!?)
Before writing this letter, I contacted a few members of the HRSB, as well as a reporter from the Chronicle Herald. I wanted to make sure I was as clear as possible on what had happened at the school board meetings, as well as the new vs. the old seating plan.
Much to my disbelief when I looked at the seating plan diagram, Mr. Sparks wasn’t being sent to the “back of the bus” like he was suggesting. The public may be interested in knowing that Mr. Sparks newly assigned spot is actually two seats closer to the front of the class!
When I was in school, I learned to read from left to right. The new seating plan shows the Student Advisor as first on the left, (which is where they should be seeing as the students are the reason you are all there and the most important people, right Mr. Sparks?).
Continuing from left to right…oh look! Doug Sparks, African Nova Scotian representative. Doesn’t that mean that Mr. Sparks is second most important? Why anyone would have a problem with that is beyond me.
What surprised me most is that Grace Walker and Gary O’Hara didn’t cry because they were put in the corner! “The Corner” is usually associated with misbehaviour, but when I asked Mrs. Walker how she felt about being shoved way back there, her response was simply, “…it doesn’t bother me where I sit. I’m there for the students…” Good on ya Grace! Of the 14 seats in the HRSB horseshoe, I’m quite sure that all seats were filled by election. As far as I am concerned, it shouldn’t matter if you are sitting by someone who is “like-minded” on issues arising at meetings. You were elected by your district to represent them, so that is what you should be concentrating on, not what people in someone else’s district wants.
I have no statistical proof, but I would bet that there is not one in all twelve school districts that goes without a black, white, yellow or red student. And guess what; it was the parents of those black, white, yellow and red students who elected the representatives for their district.
With that being said, why is there an African Nova Scotian representative in the first place? What about the Asian rep? German rep? French rep? Gay/Lesbian rep? Native rep? Jewish rep? Just to name a few. I mean it would only be proper wouldn’t it? My motion is to represent all ethnic and social backgrounds or NONE AT ALL!
What kind of message are you trying to send to the children who aren’t of African Nova Scotian heritage (mine included)? They aren’t worth it? They aren’t important enough?
This crying “victim” garbage has gone on long enough, and until everyone else takes a stand and says they won’t accept it, we will continue to walk on egg shells in fear that we may say something and be wrongly accused of being a racist.
As I said in the beginning of my letter, I was Student’s Council President at Cole Harbour District High School. That was in ’97-’98 when the school was shut down for two weeks because of the parent-labeled “racial riots”.
It was also at that time that on multiple occasions, fellow classmates called the teachers racists (among other things) in front of the entire class because they were asked to move their seats or go to the office. Another case of walking on eggshells, but I don’t blame the teachers. I blame the examples that the certain so-called “representatives” set. Learn to do by doing right?
In my opinion, Mr. Sparks should be sent to the principal’s office and expelled for embarrassing the school board, and trying to prove a point that wasn’t there to begin with. The Deputy Student Advisor should fill his seat. I’m sure he would be more than happy to take position.
As far as the board members who stand in support of Mr. Sparks, they should get detention.
Seating arrangements don’t equal “bullying” they equal organization. Just ask the grade primary students.
If Mr. Sparks is so interested in referring to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights act, he must also know that we all share the same Human Rights and they weren’t written for him alone.
For those of you who have read this through to the end, I’m almost done.
To those board members who actually believe in and follow the HRSB Mission Statement (and yes, I did get a copy of that too), I would like to say “Thank You”, and for everyone’s sake, I hope this drama class is over sooner than later.
Michelle Myers, proud CANADIANmdmyers1@hotmail.com
PS – Mr. Sparks, something else I learned in school was hypocrisy. You may want to read over your quote in the newspaper about how you “question whether the board has been acting in the best interest of the children we are supposed to be here to represent.” Then I ask to you take a look at how you are acting. In case you’re not sure, I am calling you a hypocrite.