Students are back at school, and so it is time for the New Westminster community to refocus on the issues at the school board. One thing is certain, and that is that New West families deserve better than what we have seen to date from the Community First majority.
Right out of the gate and for almost the first full year, Gurveen Dhaliwal, then an incumbent trustee and candidate and later elected as chair of the school board, operated under a cloud while she was investigated as she had been observed scrutineering on Oct.r 5 for fellow candidate and current councillor Ruby Campbell. As a candidate for council in the same election, I keenly watched the issue unfold over the course of a year. I feel sad. Yes, sad. Sad because this was a missed opportunity for school trustee and then chair Gurveen Dhaliwal and Coun. Ruby Campbell to show leadership, courage and accountability. All the things we expect and deserve from our community leaders, especially as they hold positions of trust and purport to be role models for our youth.
Instead, we have had silence, avoidance and finally justification framed as “vindication.” What was and is needed is admission of error in judgment and an apology to all of us. New West families deserve better than what we have seen so far from these community leaders.
Another controversy came into focus in early summer when New Westminster parents, teachers, students and residents learned that trustee Dee Beattie had broken their trust. Beattie admitted to setting up a fake Twitter account which she used to bully and harass a number of individuals over the period of several years. Ms. Beattie has yet to resign.
School trustees are required to look beyond their personal interests and make decisions that benefit the school district as a whole. The school board meets on Sept. 26 and it is time for trustee Dee Beattie to resign so the community can move on from this disgraceful incident from one of its community leaders!
Karima Budhwani, president, New West Progressives