Bateman parents asking for the immediate suspension of a school board trustee and a city councillor.

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 26. 2017


The following media release was received from the Save Bateman Committee four days after it was released on June 17th.

Members of the ‘Save Bateman’ Committee have filed a complaint against Burlington Ward One and Two school trustee Leah Reynolds regarding her unprofessional conduct during a school board meeting and are demanding her immediate suspension until the issue is resolved.

Trustee Reynolds’ conduct at the June 7th meeting was not in accordance with the Halton District School Board trustee’s code of conduct, specifically point #5 relating to Integrity and Dignity of Office and Civil Behaviour.

MMW typing

Meed Ward working on her IPad during a school board meeting.

The incident occurred at the board’s head office on 2050 Guelph Line in Burlington during a critical meeting that was to decide the fate of two high schools. Several members in the audience watched as Ward Two City Councillor Marianne Meed Ward used her iPad to text instructions to Trustee Reynolds on how to block a motion that was introduced to save the closure of Bateman High School.

The motion was put forward by Ward Five trustee Amy Collard who represents the area where Bateman is located. The texting began between Reynolds and Meed Ward soon after the meeting began and continued for almost one hour. It was noticed by those in attendance and (later) by members of the public watching the online live stream.

The Gazette adds that: Meed Ward has since said she did send Trustee Reynolds text messages but that the messages related to procedural matters only and that when the procedural matter was resolved she no longer sent messages to Reynolds. The procedural issue took up about an hour of the meeting that ran to well past midnight.

MMW + Leah Reynolds

City Councillor Marianne Meed Ward and Leah Reynolds at a nomination meeting.

Trustee Reynolds, who had campaigned on a platform of ‘no school closures’ fumbled to read words on her laptop while putting forward reasons why Collard’s motion should be struck down. It is critical to note that Meed Ward helped Reynolds in her election campaign and that Meed Ward served as a committee member on the school closure (PAR) committee, an involvement which received much criticism.

A parent took a photo of Meed Ward’s iPad screen that clearly showed she was instructing Reynolds. In one line, Meed Ward wrote; “DON’T VOTE IN FAVOR” and in another, “Do not uphold the Chair’s ruling.”

The same parent emailed chair trustee Kelly Amos to alert her to the incident and also talked to the parliamentarian who was present. Trustee Amos’ response was that trustees get lots of emails from their constituents so it was not deemed to be a concern.

Members of Save Bateman are demanding a full investigation into the incident because they believe that Meed Ward’s actions in which she appears to be directing Reynolds, unduly influenced the outcome of the vote.

‘Save Bateman’ members are also demanding an investigation into whether Meed Ward attempted to direct and/or influence the vote of other HDSB school trustees.

Lisa Bull shocked

Lisa Bull said she was shocked when she read the message she is believed to have read and photographed on Marianne Meed Ward’s iPad.

Denise Davey at council April 3

Denise Davy, a former journalist has delegated at city council to urge the city to involve itself in the school closing debate. Davy has been instrumental in getting the Bateman high school story news coverage at CHCH television.

Bateman parents have filed complaints with the HDSB as well as through the Ontario Ombudsman, the City of Burlington, The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, he Canadian School Boards Association and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

This group of concerned parents believes this to be an issue of integrity and honesty and argue that both Reynolds and Meed Ward failed to behave in accordance with what is expected from elected officials – particularly during such a significant process focused on closing schools.

Throughout the process, Meed Ward also used her Ward Two e-newsletter to communicate about the PAR process and reported unvalidated information/data that many believe influenced the decision to close Bateman.

Leah Reynolds with students

Leah Reynolds talking to Central high school students at a public meeting.

This formed the backdrop of the June 7th incident and further escalated the public’s concerns around Meed Ward’s involvement in the closure process.

Reynolds had campaigned on a platform of ‘no school closures’ yet voted for the closure of two schools.

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21 comments to Bateman parents asking for the immediate suspension of a school board trustee and a city councillor.

  • gordon

    Cynthia…you speak for a significant majority of silent observers regarding this pathetic display of distrust and lack of integrity by both Mead Ward and Reynolds. Mead Ward’s supporter base has been grossly diminished both in her Ward and most certainly in the broader Burlington constituency. Reynolds is most certainly a 1 term Trustee.
    I would also like to compliment The Gazette on its objective reporting on this fiasco and at last waking up to the fact that MMW is no longer Burlington’s “shiny penny”. Her “amateur hour” handling of downtown development and inability to engage meaningful constructive dialogue with developers will play itself out at the OMB at the outrageous expense to all taxpayers.

  • Cynthia

    Regardless of the finding of the board, it is pretty clear to me that Councillor Mead Ward engaged in more than “procedural” advice. Whether we think that the texting was private or not, we can’t unknow what we know. … I am saying here and now that I would never want Mead Ward as mayor, she has proven herself unworthy of the job in her actions regarding the high school closure debate and decision making process. I only hope that when others come up for air after school decisions are made that they can see this too.

    • Glenda D

      Cynthia….that’s your opinion….and what exactly do you consider as more than “procedural” advice….how did Mead Ward unduly influence other trustees, Trustees & councillors are appointed by Wards…they work for those who voted them in….if Mead Ward ever ran for Mayor then she would fight as strongly for the “whole” of the City.

    • Sharon

      Cynthia, I highly doubt that Ward 2 will ever admit they see what the rest of us do.

  • Phillip

    After perusing e-mail responses to the last 15 articles published in the Gazette on the school-closure fiasco and focusing on the authors of those emails, the conclusion is that those people wanting to “move on” and who are supporting MMW are overwhelmingly Central supporters. Having got what YOU wanted, I can understand why YOU want to move on. Unfortunately for YOU, YOU are not the only constituency who has a say in this matter!

  • Teri

    Just to clarify for those that think Bateman supporters should “get over it” and that the vote was “9-1” – the issue is regarding the dual campus idea that Trustee Collard was bringing forward and that vote had 3 in favour. If Trustee Reynolds had stuck to HER PROMISE to support NO school closures and had instead advocated with the other 3 they might have won that vote prior to the recommendation to close Bateman.

    • Andrew

      Keep fighting. Find a solution. I think everyone is behind Save Bateman. But this, this is divisive, at a time you need all the support you can get. Fight HDSB, fight the Librerals. I still think our MPP can be an ally. I would think Save Bateman still has a lot of ammo to turn the tide.

    • Sharon

      What was also disturbing is Leah Reynolds also sits on the Special Education Advisory Committee. She gave no regard to what this decision would do to Spec. Ed. students.

  • William

    The headline is incorrect. Their press release calls for suspension of the Trustee only. This was dealt with at the HDSB June 21st meeting by the Board Chair who said no code of conduct was violated. Therefore no vote to suspend.

  • Glenda D

    Vote was 9 to 1…the fight in our neighbourhood was to keep Central open….and made that known to both trustee and councillor who work for what constituents want in their wards…

    • Will

      I guess its great to keep a school open at the expense of taxpayers when it can only be a school until 2025 after upgrads cause it cant be fully accesible.

  • LBP Alumni

    Peter Menet, Andrew and C Jester, this is an indication of the lack of impartiality of the trustees, as well as the interference by a city councilor in significant decision. Open your minds and look at the larger implications!

    Peter, your lack of research seems to be consistent on this issue. A quick google search would produce, which with only a five second scan in, you would find that a trustee shall “fulfill their duties loyally, faithfully, IMPARTIALLY and in a manner that will inspire public confidence in the abilities and integrity of the Board…” I trust this answers your question of whether it’s an opinion…

  • William

    Weird for the Gazette to rehash the Save Bateman’s June 17th press release which is mostly a rehash of their accusations made and discredited over the last couple of months.

    This article doesn’t mention the HDSB Board chair has already dealt with their “letter of concern” at the June 21st Trustees meeting, stating “there was no concerns and there was no rules broken or code of conduct violated.” She went on to say “it is about being informed by our constituents and then taking that information and making sure we make our best decisions”. Bottom line – nothing wrong happened, ergo no story here.

    I agree with Menet that this article blurs the lines between Bateman’s press release, the Gazette’s reporting of their release and the Gazette’s editorializing. Confusing to following whose perspective we’re reading.

  • Save Bateman

    The Save Bateman Committee is not asking for suspensions we are demanding resignations.

    • Maggie

      I’m sorry. I try to be reasonable in my comments but asking for their resignations is idiotically over the top, particularly in the light of the fact that there was a clear invasion of privacy regarding Marianne Mead Wards text activity during the meeting. This is nothing but sour grapes. I am not an expert on the school closings, having only one adult child who is long past being affected but I do keep a bit of an eye on things that effect my city. I am not in favor of any school closings. In the case of the Bateman parents you are not doing your cause any good with your nonsense.

  • Shannon

    This is ridiculous.

  • Kate

    Could it be that she actually told the trustee in question how to
    Vote and what to do during the meeting?

    Just throwing it out there.

  • C Jester

    Are we in America? The land where if you don’t like the outcome, you sue everyone with a pulse, in every forum possible.

    One vote out of 11 just doesn’t seem to be that important in the eventual overwhelming outcome.

    Or is this just a way of getting even with people you just don’t like?

  • Andrew

    How does this Save Bateman? Is this one vote significant/important? Is the belief this one hour of communication swung the total vote? Reynolds doesn’t hold the power to influence or pressure all the other trustees. This is a red herring. Save Bateman needs to use its resources and time to go after the Ministry or our MPP. At least this could result in potential alternatives or hope. I learned a lot about Bateman and don’t want it closed. But these tactics are self defeating, and diminishing the goodwill to Save Bateman.

  • Peter Menet

    Could someone please tell me how Mead Ward unduly influenced the other nine trustees who voted on the director’s motions to close Bateman and Pearson?
    Excluding trustee Reynolds vote, the vote to close Bateman was 9 to 1.
    The allegations against Mead Ward would make one believe that by her mere presence she could influence trustees on how to vote.
    Meed Ward is parent of a child at Central. She had a right to be on the PARC committee. The parents at Central asked her to be their representative.
    If my memory is correct, Mead Ward wanted more involvement from city council in the PARC process than was forthcoming.
    I am concerned with your statement “Trustee Reynolds’ conduct at the June 7th meeting was not in accordance with the Halton District School Board trustee’s code of conduct, specifically point #5 relating to Integrity and Dignity of Office and Civil Behaviour.” Is this your opinion or are you relaying the opinion of the parents of Bateman? It is not clear if this statement was part of the Bateman parent’s press release.

    • Will

      Wasnt this the vote to look at other options? i thought there was more trustees for that vote. maybe more if trustee Reynolds wanted innovation at other schools instead of closing them like she said she didnt want.