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For Immediate Release
May 7, 2019

NLESD Seeks To Silence School Principals

St. John’s, NL… The Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association was shocked to learn yesterday that the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) has directed a principal, who was approached by the CBC, not to participate in an interview with a reporter for the national The Sunday Edition program.

CBC’s The Sunday Edition wanted to speak with a school administrator from this province as part of its recent series on school violence, which is part of a nation-wide discussion around the growing incidences of violent student behaviour in schools. Through conversations with the NLESD, the school principal was directed not to do the interview, and was advised via email that the District would not provide him with “approval to represent the District”. Interestingly, the principal was not asked nor did he seek to speak on behalf of the District, but rather to share his perspective and experiences as an experienced K-6 Administrator on the issue of violence in schools.

“To tell educators that they are not permitted to discuss an issue as serious as school violence is alarming,” states Dean Ingram, President of the NLTA. “How are we ever going to fix the issues in education if those on the front lines, working directly with and delivering services to students, face disciplinary action if they speak out about their professional experiences and reality. I doubt any other jurisdiction in the country puts such a gag order on their professionals.”

Educators from other provinces have been interviewed as part of earlier segments of The Sunday Edition series.

“The NLTA believes strongly that teachers and administrators have a right and a responsibility to discuss matters of public policy, including issues in education, especially when those issues directly impact the safety and well-being of students and teachers.”

As part of the conversation on the importance of education, the NLTA will be hosting a Leaders Forum on Education on Monday, May 13 at the Holiday Inn, Portugal Cove Road, St. John’s, starting at 7:00 p.m. The leaders of all political parties have been invited and the event will be live streamed across the province.

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For further information contact:
Lesley-Ann Browne, NLTA Communications, Tel: 709-726-3223, ext. 228; 682-3751 (cellular); labrowne@nlta.nl.ca