Wednesday , 5 October 2022

UPDATE: SPERD suspends students and sends one employee home for not wearing masks

Five students from St. Paul Regional High School and a teacher’s aid from St. Paul Elementary were sent home this morning for refusing to wear masks.

Parent Doug Robinson from St. Paul told Lakeland Connect his daughter along with four other students received one-day suspensions for their stand against school policy. His wife was also sent home from St. Paul Elementary for doing the same.

Robinson received a phone call this morning from the Vice Principal, Angela Noel. In the Call, Noel told Robinson, “Doug we have your daughter here in the office, and we’re gonna send her home with a one-day suspension for failure to comply with wearing a mask.”

“My daughter and other students actually went into the mental health and said it was causing them mental anguish, okay and they couldn’t breathe,” Robinson told Lakeland Connect when asked why they refused.

Robinson’s wife, who is a teacher’s aid, also took the same stand at St. Paul Elementary and was effectively sent home for refusing the face covering.

Robinson says it is unclear if his family members will decide to return to school tomorrow after the suspension has been lifted.

Roninson’s 10-year-old son was also sent home from St. Paul Elementary today for refusing to wear a mask.

Lakeland Connect spoke with Superintendent Glen Brodziak from St. Paul Education.

“I am not aware of that,” Superintendent Brodziak told Lakeland Connect about the sent home ten-year-old. “And I can’t speak to any specifics. What I can tell you about is our process and our policies the way we work on this.”

Superintendent Brodziak says if a student is not wearing the mask, and this is Alberta Health Services (AHS) mandated, they are reminded by the staff member or administration that can you please put your mask on as per AHS mandates.

“Most times, of course, they comply if a student does not comply. That student is asked to come down to the office and the administration and that student together they call home and they talk to the parents and try to work it out,” Superintendent Brodziak said. “And they try to work it out and say hey, listen, your son daughter is not wearing the mask today and when we asked them to comply, they did not want to. So and most times that will resolve it.”

Superintendent Brodziak says, “If that is not rectified and if there is a case then were between the parents and the family, they still decide that their son or daughter is not going to wear a mask. We asked then ask the parent then can you come and pick up your child? So again, it’s a warning first in the hallway, the second time they come to the office and they call home together and we hope that is rectified. If that is still not the case, we then ask the parent to come and pick up their child.”

Superintendent Brodziak says in a high school situation they would still be offered synchronous learning so then again, they are not suspended.

“But to be clear also, that when we use our progressive discipline model if that would happen another day or a subsequent day,” Superintendent Brodziak said. “We would be looking at our discipline policy to say and it could be it could, in fact, be a one-day suspension. If a student is you know, not able to or refuses to follow an AHS direct health order.”

Lakeland Connect then asked about Doug Robinson’s wife who was also sent home for not complying.

“I can’t specifically talk about any specific employees or students but generally speaking, yeah, it would be the same process we would go through except that we’re not going to call the employees mom and dad,” Superintendent Brodziak said.

Doug Robinson from St. Paul told Lakeland Connect that his ten-year-old daughter was just sent home as well for not complying with the mask rule.

“I have one child left in school at Racette School,” Robinson said. “I expect the call to go get my child soon. Just to clarify. The original call from vice principal Angela Noel told me the kids were suspended. She phoned me back about noon and told me it was no longer a suspension but it will be a warning. So I will get that warning in writing.”

Lakeland Connect reached out to Alberta Education.

Dylan Topal is the Press Secretary for the Education Department with the Alberta Government.

“Medical-grade masks are being distributed through schools to students and school staff to lower the risk of in-school transmission of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Students, teachers, staff and visitors must follow provincial requirements for masks and are not required to use the masks being distributed by the province. The use of a well-constructed, well-fitted mask is required for grades 4-12 and recommended for K-3,” Topal said.

To view updated guidance for schools (K-12) and school buses includes mask-use information click here.


About Arthur C. Green

Arthur C. Green is an award winning journalist and is from Whitbourne Newfoundland. Green graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, River Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner and can fillet a Codfish.