No meeting with parents on French language: Iqaluit middle school principal
"We would prefer to deal with those issues on an individual base [basis]"
(Updated, Sept. 16, 1:25 p.m.)
Iqaluit parents who want Grade 7 students at Iqaluit’s Aqsarniit Middle School to take French courses will have to wait until Sept. 23 to voice their concerns at the Iqaluit District Education Authority meeting.
There, the group — which calls itself “parents supportive of the French language” — plans to submit a petition with about 40 names on it, which were gathered Sept. 15 at the North Mart in Iqaluit.
The petition support the call for the reinstatement of a French program for Grade 7 students at the middle school.
Parent group spokesperson Glen Tucker said the petition received positive comments.
“Some Grade 9 students actually signed it as well and said that they took French all through middle school and are taking it now in high school, and said that it is not right what they are doing at the middle school this year,” he said, adding that some teachers and classroom support assistants from the elementary school also spoke to him as well.
Their opinion? “It’s not right what’s going on,” Tucker said.
Tucker and the other parents say they had no notice that French wouldn’t be offered to Grade 7 students before the school year began.
The group’s members had written Don Peters, the principal of Aqsarniit, asking for a meeting about the change.
In his response, received Sept. 12, Peters said Qikiqtani School Operations superintendent Paul Mooney had already spoken to the media about the intensive French program and Nunavut school language policies.
“As expressed by Paul, we are very sorry the message concerning the cancellation of the intensive program did not reach the parents. For this we are very sorry,” Peters said.
Peters said the decision to offer French to only Grade 6 and Grade 8 this year — “rather than intensive french throughout the grades” — was based solely on low numbers.
“If any parents have concerns or issues about their child at Aqsarniit Middle School we would prefer to deal with those issues on an individual base [sic].”
“The parents supportive of the French language group seems to be a great way to lobby your concerns and I wish you success in your endevours [sic].”
Tucker said the response to the parents shows that Peters “doesn’t want to meet with a group of angry parents.”
Tucker also said that Peters seems to have passed blame for the decision about cancelling Grade 7 French and lack of communication onto the QSO and IDEA.
Tucker and the other parents still plan to bring their complaints about the cancellation of the Grade 7 French to the IDEA’s Sept. 23 meeting.