From banned to elected: Anita Gibson says there's 'a lot of work to do' at Rainbow District School Board

It's been quite a journey for Anita Gibson, one of three new trustees at the Rainbow District School Board.

Gibson and husband were slapped with no trespass order after 'lightly heated conversation' with trustee

Anita Gibson was once banned from attending any Rainbow District School Board meetings. She is now an elected trustee with the board. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

It's been quite a journey for Anita Gibson, one of three new trustees at the Rainbow District School Board.

In October, she was elected to the Area 2 post for the English public school board covering Sudbury, Espanola and Manitoulin.

Up until September, Gibson and her husband Dylan had been banned from attending Rainbow high schools and the board office, an order that been in place since 2012.

Gibson said they were never given an explanation of the reasons for the ban, but now says she wants to put the problems behind them, and focus on students and their public education.

"From my point of view, there was a minor disagreement, maybe a lightly heated conversation with a trustee after a meeting," Gibson said. "Instead of dealing with the situation and looking at it through an informal procedure, for reasons unknown, they decided to not follow procedure and go straight to the punishment."

The punishment for Gibson was "no trespass order" on her and her husband, preventing her from attending any meetings at Rainbow District School Board properties.

The CBC reported in December 2016 that then-trustee Tyler Campbell and the Gibsons were at the centre of a verbal confrontation in a stairwell after a board meeting.

"No vendetta'

Gibson said she learned a lot about the system while fighting to have the ban lifted, lessons that will serve her well in her role as trustee.

But she also said she rejects the idea that she has a score to settle with the people who once banned her.

"I definitely would not call it a vendetta," Gibson said.  It's probably a misconception that I want to make a huge change overnight."

"I think the work is done at committee, motion by motion, conversation by conversation. I do have some issues important to me about physical literacy and math," she added.

"And I think there's a lot we can do as a local school board to see if we're really supporting students, their physical, academic and mental health."

You can hear the full interview with Anita Gibson by clicking the audio link below.

Anita Gibson has been on a journey, from being banned from schools in the Rainbow School Board to being elected as their newest trustee. We asked Anita Gibson to talk about why she was banned and to share some of her plans now that she's a trustee. 7:53


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.