N.S. teachers union drops complaint against principal for organizing Vimy trip

By The Canadian Press
April 16, 2018 - 2:30pm

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia's teachers union has backed away from threats to discipline two school administrators and a teacher who organized a student trip to Vimy Ridge last year despite a work-to-rule campaign.

Eartha Monard, principal of Dartmouth High School since 2008, said she received a letter last month indicating her union local was seeking sanctions based on her efforts to keep the trip going despite labour unrest last year.

More than 80 students took part in the trip for the 100th anniversary of the First World War battle, which required extensive planning and fundraising, with students and parents making significant financial commitments.

Monard said in an interview she understood she faced possible sanctions ranging from a reprimand to being temporarily dropped from the union.

However, the union said Monday the local has dropped its complaint against Monard, along with the former vice principal, Randolph Sullivan, and a teacher.

And in a follow-up email, Liette Doucet, the president of the union representing Nova Scotia's 9,600 public school teachers, said the union apologized.

"In the end I think the local made the appropriate decision. We are pleased this has been resolved and appreciate that it has been difficult for all involved. While I cannot speak about the details of the complaint or why it was dropped, we apologize for any tension this process has caused," the union leader wrote.

Monard said she's pleased by the union's decision to end the complaint, which never went to a discipline committee.

"The main thing is they've dropped it and we're all moving forward," she said.

Planning for the Vimy trip started before the Dec. 5, 2016, work-to-rule campaign, when the union called on teachers to drop extracurricular activities to protest the provincial government's contract bargaining tactics.

The veteran administrator said she was never overly concerned about the possibility of being sanctioned by the union, as the province and the union have agreed to a place the principals and vice-principals in their own professional body.

Still, she said she went public with her story because she didn't think the complaint process was proper, almost a year after the trip had taken place.

"When I look at the whole thing, it didn't make any sense. The decision made to actually follow through with this (union) complaint was inappropriate," she said.

"It also didn't seem appropriate given the nature of the trip and what it means to Canadians."

The Canadian Press

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