MPP Jack Maclaren not that enthused about public high school in Stittsville

Jack Maclaren, quoted today in the Ottawa Citizen in an article about the results of the public high school survey:

MacLaren said Thursday that he doesn’t oppose a new school but perhaps “wasn’t as enthused” about the idea as they would have liked him to be.

“My kids went 10 or 11 miles to school. They’re talking about six miles,” said MacLaren. “I didn’t think my kids went through any great hardship. There was nothing we could do about the distance. They have six miles and they just think that’s absolutely unbearable. I guess I grew up in a community where we didn’t feel that way.”


2 thoughts on “MPP Jack Maclaren not that enthused about public high school in Stittsville”

  1. First of all, Canada uses the metric system. And it isn’t 6 miles, but it is 12.5 kilometers. For some, a little less, and for others, quite a bit more.
    Part of that is not an 80km/h country road, but a 50km/h city road with slow moving traffic, because Stittsville’s Main street can get pretty clogged up where traffic leaves little openings because of the dense continuous endless flow of cars. The country road part isn’t good for travel during the winter months. It seems strange that a town of 30,000 people would have to ship their children out 12.5 kilometers or more even, to another smaller town in the countryside. The alternative is to choose the Catholic high school which enjoys a great location in Stittsville, is a nice lush tall shiny building, is situated in a large park setting with lots of greenery and trees, and is right next to a community center which includes a swimming pool. The problem with that is that that school follows a message of a particular brand of faith, a religion. Many people do not share or agree with that particular religion. Some people say that you could simply opt out of religion class, but that isn’t that simple at all. There is resistance against people joining that aren’t Catholic, by ways of preferring to accept the ones that do share that religion at signup time. Once in, people find themselves constantly in court, fighting against decisions that Catholic schools make. Judges have to rule on an ongoing basis that Catholic schools can not force students to do things like attend mass, or that they must honor the official religion exemption form. From time to time there are news articles that show how various Catholic high schools refuse to obey these rules. And it isn’t just religion class that is the problem. There are things like prayer moments for various reasons, and things like mass. Different religious things are organized. There is a general underlying tone of so called Christian values. Resistance creates awkward situations for the students that become labeled as anti religious troublemakers. There are many people that do not want to have to deal with these issues. They just want to concentrate on providing a decent education for their kids, and anything like personal religious values are a completely private matter, and none of the school’s, or society’s business.
    There are also many people that do choose to put up with these matters, and they consider sending their kids to the Catholic high school to be less disadvantageous than sending their kids to South Carleton high school in Richmond.
    This resulted in another problem, which is the overcrowding of the Catholic high school, while the high school in Richmond is left less utilized. I don’t quite want to say underutilized, but it’s not filled up at all. This does not mean that the interest for a public high school isn’t big. It absolutely is a big thing. It just says that there are reasons that the current high school in Richmond poses problems.
    One problem is the location issue. It is in the opposite direction that people generally travel to. There are many people living in the north end that would have travel through (slow) Stittsville, and then through the countryside to get to, to the far end in Richmond.Others are too nervous about winter travel out into the countryside. Shrugging this off as simple 6 little miles, is completely disingenuous.
    South Carleton is a much older, and outdated building. Stittsville really requires a new updated modern public high school. A place to inspire our young. A place that will help shape the future, and something we can be proud of. But with what’s happening now, is that the public system stands to lose more and more of its share of funding, and it’s for the wrong reasons. How much deterioration does the public high school in Richmond have to endure? What are the consequences of inaction? The topic constantly comes up when talking with other parents. Everyone I talk to is very upset why we don’t have a public high school in Stittsville. It is completely wrong that the Catholics get to run the show. As if they are the only popular ones in town. This whole topic is about to get a lot more heated over the next while, because people will not take this any longer, and people are going to up the ante.
    A single MP can not sit there and make a couple of oversimplified condescending remarks and shove it under the rug that way. This MP is going against the grain of a whole lot of people. If these people have an influence if this particular politician is going to be voted for again, then he can simply start counting down the days, because that person will be replaced come next election. And just because the municipal elections are recently behind us, does not mean this issue is just going to blow over, because he can afford the time. The fact is that the current status quo, with Stittsville continuing to grow like this, is becoming more and more unacceptable by the day. It’s a very odd situation we have here, and it’s very odd that the governing bodies are not working for the people like they should here.
    I know the Ministry of education is looking for ways to trim budgets because of major funding issues in Ontario right now, but looking to save here is just wrong.
    If the Ministry is truly interested in optimizing funding, then they should look at amalgamating the Catholic system, and merging it into one public secular system. Rumor has it that that would save between half and one billion dollars for every year.

  2. Something badly wrong when Roman Catholics have had a palatial, first class High School in Stittsville for YEARS (!!!) while non Catholics have been so poorly treated by the provincial government. Clearly the Catholic Board has been getting preferential treatment for too long. A non denominational PUBLIC high school should have been assured and built here BEFORE a discriminatory Catholic s school was built

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