Parents, teachers flood Yukon Catholic school meeting

Almost 150 parents and teachers came out for Vanier Catholic Secondary School council meeting, to voice concerns about the school's policy on homosexuality.

Concerns raised about staff, student morale

Yukon Catholic school meeting

CBC News: Northbeat

8 years ago
CBC's Nancy Thomson reports from Whitehorse 2:45

Close to 150 people came out for a meeting Wednesday night of the Vanier Catholic Secondary school council.

The school has been the focus of controversy recently over its Catholic Church-based policy on homosexual students.

Yukon's Deputy Minister of Education, Val Royle, told the meeting that a new policy will be drafted; one without negative language which could affect a student's self-esteem.

Royle said the school's hiring policy will be reviewed, and the role of the bishop and the administration clarified.

Rick Griffiths, a former teacher at Vanier, spoke on behalf of several former teachers at the school.

Almost 150 parents and teachers packed in for a school council meeting for Whitehorse's Vanier Catholic Secondary School. (CBC)

"Clearly, Vanier is a school in crisis. Staff morale has been seriously affected, again this year a number of teachers have requested transfers, and student enrollment is declining," he said. 

Several parents also spoke about how they love the school, but not how it has changed.

Cynthia Matichak said it has become very conservative.

"We want Vanier to go back to the school it used to be - a more moderate and accepting Catholic school."

Another parent, Marguerite Kuiack, said she is struck by the negative changes.

"It's known that the morale in this school is really low. There's a reason that 11 teachers, two vice-principals, and a priest have left the school. That's something that has to be addressed."

One teacher, who has been at Vanier for 17 years, spoke about how she now feels singled out because she is not Catholic.

Some students defended the school, while others said they feel they haven't gotten any answers about the policy from the department or the school council.

The meeting lasted for nearly three hours.