Langley parents looking at legal options

Frustrated R.C. Garnett parents upset over decision to switch school to K-5

Parents of R.C. Garnett Elementary are considering their legal options, after the school district told them their Willoughby school will be K-5 next September.

A school district staff member met with parents on Monday night to answer questions and concerns about the change, which will see Grade 6 and 7 students bused to Lynn Fripps Elementary, which is set to open at the same time.

Following the emotional meeting, two lawyers who happened to be parents at the school told parents there may be some legal ramifications to the school board’s actions.

Clint Lee, who is a lawyer with a child attending R.C. Garnett, said they are looking at the B.C. School Act around enrolment and priority given to students within a catchment. He said there might be some legal options when it comes to the district’s obligation to students within their catchment area.

His views are personal and don’t reflect those of his law firm, he said.

“As a parent, my child is facing going to four different schools. They always talk about the importance of students having a sense of belonging,” said Lee. “My child will be moved more than a military family. Where is the sense of belonging for him?”

“The school district keeps telling us kids are resilient. One of our parents talked to a top child psychologist in B.C. about what these constant changes could do to a child and he suggested moving.”

Lee attended the meeting the school district held with parents Monday night.

Lee, along with another lawyer, suggested parents think of taking legal and/or civil action.

“We wanted to put it out there to parents. But they need to really think about it first.”

He said he isn’t sure how much fight parents have left in them.

“Parents are getting tired emotionally,” he said.

R.C. Garnett PAC co-chair Lorraine Baldwin said parents have completely lost trust in school district.

“They have made this decision without taking into account the ripple effect,” she said.

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