Montreal: F.A.C.E. School Community Speaks Up

October 26, 2006

F.A.C.E. Community Comes out in Force

F.A.C.E. Demonstration.

Yesterday, on October 25th, the community of F.A.C.E. School students, parents, teachers and alumni spoke up, by staging a protest outside the Commission Scolaire de Montréal‘s Headquarters on Sherbrooke Street East.

The hundreds of protesters gathered to voice their outrage with the suspension of F.A.C.E. principal Nick Primiano. Veiled in a cloud of secrecy, the September 25 suspension of the popular principal has parents and students angry: the school board has not made public the reasons for Mr Primiano’s suspencion, citing the necessity of confidentiality in an ongoing inquiry into Primiano’s directorship of the school.

This silence has triggered various rumours about the school and has obviously tarnished the school’s image. The timing could not be worse — the principal was suspended as the school year began — and came a month before the school’s open house (happening on October 30th). The overwhelming message of the evening was that parents and students are angry and want their principal back.

Question Period

CSDM Question Period

After the protests outside, the crowd went inside the building for the weekly meeting of the commissars of the CSDM, a meeting that usually allocates a 30 minute question period for parents. Today’s question period lasted a whole 90 minutes, because parents and students numbered several dozens and had a lot of questions for the CSDM.

The CSDM provided no answers.

The only answer given was an introductory speech which promised that by next Wednesday, a verdict will be reached in the Primiano case.

Parents were expressing their concerns over ruining the carreer of their beloved principal and were also concerned for the future of the unique school. Most stressed the unique character of this Alternative Art School located at the heart of Montreal (across from McGill University). The school is famed for its theatre and music program, as well as its unique bilingual character: the school has both French and English classes.

Not Without Controversy

The evening was not without its fair share of controversy. The CSDM’s meeting was held in a room that could barely hold the hundreds of F.A.C.E. supporters gathered outside – about a hundred was simply not let into the building. The ones that managed to make it into the meeting, had to cope with being crushed inside the meeting room or had to listen to speakers in the hallway. Once inside, the supporters were also surprised with a group of students already in the meeting room, who were in the building for “educational purposes” prior to the CSDM opening its doors to the F.A.C.E. community.

At the question period’s conclusion, a parent spoke to the commission and asked to be addressed in English — as a sign of respect for the English-speaking parents in the bilingual school (the English side of the school is governed by the EMSB, but the school falls under the jurisdiction of the CSDM) — something the commissars refused to do.

EDIT: Earlier in the day, William Paul, the webmaster of www.ecolefaceschool.com, an unofficial site linking the F.A.C.E. community and mobilizing former students, received word that the CSDM was considering sending him letters from its lawyers.

More to come.

Photos by Alexandre Marine.

To read an account (in French) of the event by Julie Bélanger, who asked the council of commissars some questions, please visit her blog.

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9 Responses to “Montreal: F.A.C.E. School Community Speaks Up”

  1. Bob Jardin Says:

    Dear whoever you are,
    It would be better if you identified yourself clearly and di not reproduce rumour about the CSDM threatening legal action. This is similar to what they are doing to Mr. Primiano. Get the person’s name who threatened the legal action, who they work for and publish any communications they have had. Transparencey is the only tool you will need not innuendo and goosip.

    Thank you


  2. Hello Bob,

    I sign each post on this website. My name is Dmitri Marine and I usually blog on the latest events in world politics. But last night I found myself at the CSDM meeting and felt a need to publish my account of the event.

    I have looked into the allegations on this website and I must admit my error: direct threatre were not made. There was indirect intervention with a threat of letters from CSDM lawyers. I have posted an ERRATUM and will edit this article as well.

    The reason that I contacted the Comissaires and the Press person of the CSDM today with a link to the story, was because I wanted this transparency: I wanted members of the CSDM community to read my article and comment any errors that I had made. I have not heard back yet.

    I must thank you, Bob, because I made a grave error. I will be preparing a piece for 90.3 fm about the event this Wednesday and I would not want to tarnish the reputation of the news team at at CKUT radio, because of my honest error. So I really must thank you, because I verified something I wasn’t planning to verify, which was unacceptable on my part.

    If there’s anything else that has you concerned, please feel free to comment or email me directly at bloguenorth AT gmail DOT com. I can provide you a telephone number as well — just let me know where to send it to.

    I also would like to take this opportunity to disclose the fact that I am a former student of F.A.C.E. school. That’s what initially brought me to the meeting — I wanted to find out what was going on at my former school.

    Dmitri Marine

  3. Bob Jardin Says:

    Thank you for your response. I realize you are as concerned as everyone and we should work together to help resolve the situation. If any threats are made either implied or direct you should “take names” verify in writing and publish them all.

    Please let me know if I can be of any help.

    Thank you

    Bob


  4. Great blog ! look at mine if you will

  5. Georgia Says:

    I was there !!!!!

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  7. I don’t disagree with you


  8. That’s very academic blog post!!


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