Yukon community backs school principal

Parents and others in Pelly Crossing, Yukon, are backing a school principal removed from his job.

Parents want government to explain why principal was removed

Community members in Pelly Crossing, Yukon, want their principal back, who was let go last month following unsubstantiated claims against him. CBC North's Nancy Thomson reports. 2:08

Members of the Selkirk First Nation in Pelly Crossing, Yukon, are defending the principal who was recently removed from the school.

Keith Clarke had been at Eliza Van Bibber school for two years. He was suddenly replaced in March. School council members have told CBC there were unsubstantiated allegations against Clarke.

The RCMP have confirmed there was no substance to the complaints.  

Elder Gerald Fairclough wants Clarke to come back to Pelly Crossing.  

"Keith was doing a really good job here. Everybody felt that way, you know. He never did anybody any wrong in this community and he's just trying to help the community. Just get him back, let him live here," Fairclough said.

Artist and parent Eugene Alfred wants answers from the education department.  

"These allegations, I think, were just there to damage him and to make it look as negative as possible for him, which is not right. I hope someone's accountable for this one day," Alfred said.

The department of Education and the chief of the Selkirk First Nation have refused to speak to the CBC. The chair of the community based school council in Pelly Crossing has also refused to talk.

However, three other school council members in the community have criticized the department for removing Clarke, and are asking for explanations from the Yukon government.

Council member Terri Lee Isaac said the Yukon government hasn't given any good reasons as to why Clarke was removed.   

"Except for a letter from the department, stating that he took another job, which was a lie to the community," Isaac said.

Julia Joe is the Selkirk First Nation liaison in the school.

"As a parent, I wasn't asked my input. Was my child learning? Was my child benefitting from having this principal? Yes, he was," Joe said.