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Union leaders denied from speaking

“It's disappointing. It's frustrating. I don't recall ever this happening before."
Many people in the gallery sported pride clothing as PGDTA president Daryl Beauregard addressed his concerns at the January meeting.

Two union leaders representing school district staff were told they were not allowed to address the School District 57 board during its regular public meeting Tuesday.

Prince George District Teacher’s Association President (PGDTA) Daryl Beauregard was recently critical of the board’s silence after public comments about district teachers and SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) education in schools.

On Feb. 24, Beauregard received a letter informing him that the board was re-enacting a policy that requires everybody to submit the topics of their discussion, and request time to speak.

On Monday, he submitted his request but was denied his request.due to short notice.

“It's disappointing. It's frustrating. I don't recall ever this happening before. As a union president of an employee group, we've always enjoyed the right to be able to address our publicly elected officials.”

The board’s policy manual states “the board chairperson or the chairperson of a committee, in consultation with Trustees, reserves the right to decline any request to make a formal presentation.”

Paula Bass, president of CUPE 3742 which represents school support staff, said she was also denied speaking at the meeting.

However, Bass attended the public comment period, which had been moved following the conclusion of the board meeting, to voice her concerns.

“I would just like to tell you how much it hurt CUPE 3742 to be denied to speak to you publicly. We applied and were turned down. I am the voice of 1,000 members and when you turn that voice off, you're telling us that we don't that you don't care,” said Bass.

This meeting was also not broadcast or posted on the board’s YouTube channel as previous meetings have been.

School board chair Rachael Weber declined to comment to the Citizen after the meeting.