School council trustee reprimanded by board
Don Thomas found in violation of code of conduct
Rocky View Schools’ Trustee Don Thomas received a formal reprimand from the board, May 14.
“Because it was in-camera, there are not a lot of details I can give,” said Trustee Helen Clease, who was tasked by the board to speak about the special meeting.
“It was felt there was a violation of the trustee code of conduct.”
Clease said the violation was the result of a letter Thomas sent to the Rocky View Weekly, published April 3.
In the letter, Thomas wrote about the board’s attempt to allocate portables to Prince of Peace School near Chestermere “while asking some schools in Airdrie and Cochrane to deal with overcrowded student situations.” Thomas stated in the letter that in his opinion, “RVS has been diligent at accommodating new students but it cannot be at the expense or inconvenience of those students we are required by law to serve.”
“The area that we found him in violation of was article 6.1,” said Clease, which states, “A trustee must accurately represent and support the corporate decision of the board.”
Thomas said he will accept the reprimand, but disagrees he was in violation of the code of conduct by sending the letter.
“There’s a freedom of speech thing that comes into question here,” he said.
“I think their interpretation is narrow… there’s a difference between what something says and what it means to say.”
Thomas said he always supports the decisions of the board, but he didn’t think the portable allocation decision “was the best choice.”
“Just like the Supreme Court, you have dissenting judges,” he said.
The censure is a formal reprimand, Clease said, but it will not put any sanctions on the trustee.
“Our board work continues, Don’s work continues, and at the end of the day we’re working in the best interest of the kids,” she said.
Clease said the board’s code of conduct offers many discipline options for trustees found in violation, but the reprimand Thomas received was the best choice for RVS to move forward.
“There’s a number of choices you can make, and there’s things you can do even beyond that, but we chose as a board to do a formal reprimand.”
The censure will not prevent Thomas from attending to his duties as a trustee and he said it’s back to business as usual.
“Once we’re elected in one area, we’re also chosen to represent the entire board and I will continue to do that,” he said.
When asked if being censured by the board will change the way he interacts with the media, Thomas gave a succinct response.