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BOTD 10/07/16 "The Whistle Blower" A Stevie Production

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David M. Katz


Marshall
The Whistle Blower...
A Stevie Production


Your son, Upton, 14 years old...

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Upton is in grade nine at Suburban Utopia High School, and is now in big trouble with the school administration...

Since he started at the school in September, he has been critical of the state of the toilets at the school... he has a little trouble with IBS and is sometimes compelled by urgent necessity to use the stalls for their intended purpose. Cuts hit very hard at the cleaning budget this year, and now the heavily used toilets are only cleaned once a week; in consequence, they are pretty grotty by Friday.

Finally, he took a few snapshots with his Ithing and posted them to the public service desk of The Toronto Star...

One of the least awful pictures... warning:
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The Toronto Star followed up on the posting, did their own investigation, and made a big fuss over the issue, pointing out that Suburban Utopia has the one of highest absenteeism rates in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and suggesting that this is related to the general lack of cleanliness.

A great deal of fuss was generated and the school administration got their knuckles severely rapped over this.

Upton has now come home from school with a suspension notice... he has been suspended for a month for taking pictures in the school washrooms.

This is a GTA wide policy intended to stop kids from taking embarrassing photos of other kids... but the wording of the bylaw is not specific and it does indeed prohibit the use of cameras of any type in school toilets or changerooms... but you strongly suspect that the rule has been enforced just to punish your lad for whistle blowing (there were NO students visible in any of your son's snapshots).

This is a very serious suspension, of course, and may well cause your son trouble later on when he applies to college or university.


How do you react?


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David M. Katz


Marshall
This is definitely retaliation against Upton.

I will first speak to the principal to see if perhaps s/he can be brought to reason but probably not.

I am sure The Toronto Star would love this story.

I sure hope Em's divorce attorney also does civil litigation because I am going to keep him busy.

This is wrong.

Regardless, I will likely need to move Upton to a private school or consider homeschooling.

Obviously, no punishment from me for Upton.


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Pi Beta


Deputy
Straight back to the Totonto Star. The school will be even more embarrassed about the follow up story.

Yes, he may have to change school if it sticks to the suspension after all the furore but I doubt they will stick to this since there will probably be support for Upton in Parliament. It could well end up with the head being suspended and Upton welcomed back. He'll be a hero to his schoolmates.

I'll be backing him up all the way.

squarecutter


Sherrif
Pi Beta wrote:Straight back to the Totonto Star. The school will be even more embarrassed about the follow up story.

Yes, he may have to change school if it sticks to the suspension after all the furore but I doubt they will stick to this since there will probably be support for Upton in Parliament. It could well end up with the head being suspended and Upton welcomed back. He'll be a hero to his schoolmates.

I'll be backing him up all the way.

Agreed and if it carrieson and I have any choice I will remove him from the school. Of cours the local school district is probably responsible for this and Upton may need a school that isnt under their auspices. I only wish Upton had raised his concern with me so I could take it up with the powers. But its done and I back Upton all the way

kalico


Sherrif
agreement with the others.....if that's a school bathroom affraid that's horrible



hugs kal

Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
I'm in agreement with the others. If the school insists on enforcement of their rule in the circumstances, they'll regret their bad judgement. This falls under the umbrella of citizen journalism and there is a clear public interest.

Having said that, I think Upton should have tried to address the situation first without the rule breaking. For starters, he could have complained to me so that I could make the lives of the school board members a burden to them. He (and I) could have gone to the media and newspapers with the situation, even without pictures as evidence. I'm sure some other students would have signed a petition. I think there's probably some public health entity that we could have complained to also.

Kat

AFinch


Sherrif
Unanimous.

ivor


Marshall
I agree with Kat that there probably were better ways of dealing with the matter and have to wonder why he didn't raise the problem with me before going public.

As for the suspension, there is little doubt he has broken the guidelines but whether 'public interest' is justification for doing so could probably go all the way to the highest court in the land.

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Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
ivor wrote:As for the suspension, there is little doubt he has broken the guidelines but whether 'public interest' is justification for doing so could probably go all the way to the highest court in the land.

In my cynical opinion, the court of public opinion will be the one that counts, Ivor. Remember the Texas schoolboy last year who brought his homemade clock to school? Institutions hate that sort of media spotlight.

Kat

Jack


Admin
Remember that the scenario says Upton has been critical of the condition of the bathrooms since school started, so you could assume several other things have been tried before this.

To me, the most important thing about this is that the Principal is a public servant, and this is definitely retaliation against a whistleblower. I'll simply ask him if I should start with State, Federal, or go straight to a law suit. I'll offer the chance for him to 'realize his mistake' privately, before raking him over the coals publicly.


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Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
Jack wrote:To me, the most important thing about this is that the Principal is a public servant, and this is definitely retaliation against a whistleblower.  I'll simply ask him if I should start with State, Federal, or go straight to a law suit.  I'll offer the chance for him to 'realize his mistake' privately, before raking him over the coals publicly.

I'm not sure that state and federal applies so much to a Toronto school.

Kat

Padraig


Trailboss
Unfortunately the law is not often in favour of whistleblowers...

Jack


Admin
Kat wrote:
Jack wrote:To me, the most important thing about this is that the Principal is a public servant, and this is definitely retaliation against a whistleblower.  I'll simply ask him if I should start with State, Federal, or go straight to a law suit.  I'll offer the chance for him to 'realize his mistake' privately, before raking him over the coals publicly.

I'm not sure that state and federal applies so much to a Toronto school.

Good point - I forgot about that part.


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