2018-11-28

Bayview School principal placed on leave

by KEVIN MCBAIN and CHARLES MANDEL

Bayview Community School Principal Lamar Eason was placed on administrative leave on November 5, but the parents of students at the school are upset that they have only just learned of the situation.

Simone Chia-Kangata has started a closed Facebook page called Standing with Lamar Eason. She says that a lot of parents have commented on it.

"We were very shocked to learn about this going into this past weekend," she said in an interview November 26. "There has been no communication whatsoever.

"This is unacceptable and we haven't even heard if there is an interim principal or anything like that. There doesn't seem to be any checks or balances any more."

Chia-Kangata said that since Eason began as principal in September he had done a lot of good things during his short time there. The rapport with students and parents has been positive, according to Chia-Kangata.

The South Shore Regional Centre for Education (SSRCE) says there is not much they can say.

"To protect his confidentiality and other people's confidentiality, it's a personnel issue and I'm not at liberty to discuss this. I can say he was not suspended," said Angelina McConnell, communications manager for SSRCE. "There are no children at risk whatsoever and we are doing everything we can to ensure that the school goes on as business as usual.

"We do have people who are in positions that are covering off to lessen the impact on the students. They are our first thought."

But in an email, Craig Pottie, vice-principal at Bayview, wrote: "Many of you have asked about where Mr. Eason is and why he has been absent from our school. A complaint by a colleague from last year when Lamar was Coordinator of Race Relations, Cross-Cultural Understanding and Human Rights (RCH) was filed in the fall and Lamar was placed on administrative leave pending investigation.

"It is important for Bayview parents to note that this complaint has nothing to do with a student, our school or Lamar's ability as our Principal."

Pottie told parents in the email that Eason had a "smooth start" to the year and had learned a lot about the school.

One immediate issue is report cards. Pottie noted that Bernie Van Doninck was acting principal at Bayview in mid-November but had to return to Chester District.

"There are many loose ends with the report cards and they are not yet ready to pass out. Tomorrow I will be trying to get a handle on what needs to be done and Jamie Renouf, who has training in PowerSchool, will do the remaining printing Wednesday (November 28) morning. Report cards will not be passed out until Wednesday afternoon."

Pottie said any questions or concerns should be directed to the regional executive director of the SSRCE, Scott Milner, at (902)541-3002, smilner@ssrce.ca.

"The staff at Bayview has been doing our best to try to shield our students from the effects of Mr. Eason's absence, but it is becoming increasingly difficult. Obviously a quick resolution to this so that we can get back to the important work at hand is what we are all hoping for," Pottie wrote.

Prior to this school year, Eason worked with the SSRCE as the RCH coordinator, or Race Relations, Cross-Cultural Understanding and Human Rights.

Bayview Community School located in Mahone Bay, has a population of about 400 students from Grade Primary to Grade 9.

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