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Vernon  

Parents frustrated with SD83

Hoping for answers and some form of accountability, the North Okanagan mother at the centre of a school controversy had a meeting with school district officials yesterday.

The meeting was supposed to address her concerns with the district's handling of several inappropriate touching incidents between her daughter and another little girl from the same school. 

While choking back tears, she told Castanet that she left the meeting feeling frustrated and doesn't understand why the school district continues to handle this situation so poorly.

"Policies and procedures in any kind of abuse towards children need to be changed. The victims need to be that, the victims."

The mother says she promised the district officials she wouldn't share the details of her meeting but says the officials she met with failed to answer her questions and showed no level of accountability.

The mother says she was told that the district was working towards a potential resolution.

"I feel like now that this story has come out, I am not the only person made out to be a monster by the school system and that needs some serious changes." 

The mother's story has inspired other parents to share similar stories about their dealings with officials at School District 83. 

A local area parent, who wishes to remain anonymous because her child is still a student within the district, says after reading about the mother's troubles with SD83 she knew she had to come forward with her story. 

She says a few years ago when her son was five, she got a phone call from his school informing her that her son was not allowed to go on a field trip because of an incident. 

When she picked her son up from school she discovered bruises on his arm. Her son later told her that the bruises were from his teacher.

The teacher confirmed that she grabbed his arm and the bruises were from when the boy tried to pull away. 

"She shouldn't be grabbing him hard enough to leave bruises on him," the woman told Castanet.

The woman says her then-husband, stormed up to the school to demand answers. He was told he had to leave the property and if he didn't, they would call the RCMP.

"Your kid shouldn't come home with bruises on him, so he was obviously angry," she said when asked about her husband's reaction. 

The woman claims the school district never took accountability and blamed the situation on her then five-year-old son. A few days later the family received a letter in the mail stating that the husband was banned from any and all School District 83 properties unless he was willing to meet with the school board and principal and apologize to them. 

The situation was enough for the family to pull the boy out of that school and enroll him in another school, however, in the same district.

"Stuff needs to be done with the system and how things are done. This isn't necessarily something with the teachers and the principals, it is coming from higher up," she said.

The woman did file a complaint with RCMP, but says the nothing came from it.

"The school is supposed to be a safe place for your child, and when it is not you have the right to be angry."

The boy is doing well in his new school, but the woman says that is in large part to the principal of his new school. 

"If you are having an issue ... she will talk to you about it, and it is not the kind of thing like 'get out of here before I call the RCMP.'"

Castanet has tried several times speak to somebody with the school district but has not had a response to our requests for comment.

The woman of the little boy says her son used to love going to school, now he doesn't. 

"Something needs to change in the school district to deal with the problems that are happening in the schools, and not just toss them under the rug." 

"The more people that come forward, it leaves no option but to change something."



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