Culture clashes between two high schools in Burlington get discussed at Board of Education meeting.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 8th, 2017



With the decision to close Bateman high school a done deal, albeit a decision that won’t get implemented until 2020, finding a way to make the culture at Nelson at least hospitable to the students arriving from Bateman becomes very relevant.

While less than two km apart the culture of the two schools is significantly different.

portrait of Joanna Oliver

Oakville trustee Joanna Oliver

Joanna Oliver, an Oakville trustee asked a question last night that put an uncomfortable issue on the table where it couldn’t be ignored.

“The community has shared with us concerns about transitions and safe and welcoming school environments” said Oliver. “ I would like to reflect on the comments made about the unaccepting culture at Nelson.

“Such comments have been made in various delegations and shared with us by email. They have almost assumed a life of their own and that’s one of a threat and fear” on the part of the students at Bateman who will be transferred to Nelson.

“I feel that staying silent on this matter helps to potentially, though inadvertently protect such a culture and it does a huge disservice to the Nelson students who are inclusive, compassionate and adaptable”, said Oliver.

She added: “Given HDSB’s efforts at anti-bullying and fostering inclusive and safe school environments – I find it hard to believe that staff and other students at Nelson would actively protect a culture of intolerance.

Nelson High crest

Nelson high school – sen by many as the premier high school in the city, will now see a $12 million addition to its facilities and an influx of students that will, over time, change the culture of the school.

“Unfortunately, there may always be individuals who are not accepting and who do engage in various forms of bullying but they are not the majority.”

While there were many mentions of a rude environment awaiting the students from Bateman at Nelson, with Social Media crawling with comments that would stun many parents, Director of Education Stuart Miller said the Board had not been able to identify the kind of behaviour that was being talked about.

It is a concern – how it gets handled is what bothers parents who have students in the Community Pathways Program.

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