Banned trustee takes seat, defying Rainbow School Board order
Elected official Larry Killens will be permitted to attend as member of public, despite public outcry
More than once, Rainbow District School Board chair Doreen Dewar was interrupted by angry audience members at a public school board meeting Tuesday night.
About 30 people showed up at the school board's Sudbury office in support of Manitoulin Island trustee Larry Killens, who was banned from the table after a unanimous vote from school board officials to censure him.
Killens told CBC News he's known for asking what he calls "hard questions" of board staff.
He's been vocal about the rights of students who've been expelled, and has questioned the board's school amalgamation plan.
Killens took his seat and stayed mostly quiet, though his supporters were far more vocal.
Second interruption of tonight’s Rainbow District School Board meeting. Reminder: Banned trustee Larry Killens IS in fact in his seat. Chair Dewar is forced to ignore random cat-calls from the crowd. <br><br>This is certainly one of the more awkward meetings I’ve covered. <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCSudbury?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBCSudbury</a> <a href="https://t.co/dpkpnmLRHt">pic.twitter.com/dpkpnmLRHt</a>—@JamminAube1
Censure an attempt to 'silence' outspoken trustee
Parents like Chris Morgan believe the board wants to silence Killens.
"To ignore someone in a meeting who is our elected trustee...we want Larry back where he belongs," Morgan said.
"Part of the Larry Killens thing, with the bullying, I've sat in board meetings and seem some of the stuff that goes on," Morgan said. "I encourage other people to come see what actually goes on."
Board will not discuss specifics
Dave Kurtis says Dewar's focus on the conflict is taking away from the needs of students and teachers
"What we see here is a person who is doing everything to cling to power," Kurtis said.
Dewar says Killens was banned for sharing confidential information discussed during past in-camera sessions, but stressed the board "will not discuss specific breaches."
Dewar told the media Killens is welcome to attend future meetings as a member of the public.
"I do know trustee Killens is extremely disappointed," Dewar said. "I understand his supporters are also extremely disappointed. The decision has been made."
Despite the ban, Killens says he'll continue attending meetings until his term ends in November.
The meeting has ended. Now parents and school board opponents are really letting loose, shouting at Rainbow District School Board chair Doreen Dewar. <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCSudbury?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBCSudbury</a> <a href="https://t.co/CVml3c7WTH">pic.twitter.com/CVml3c7WTH</a>—@JamminAube1
With files from Benjamin Aubé