The Vancouver School Board is facing allegations of bullying and harassment, just days after two key members mysteriously went on indefinite medical leave.
Education Minister Mike Bernier says WorkSafeBC is probing accusations of bullying and harassment between the VSB and its staff.
Bernier received a letter from the BC School Superintendents Association containing serious allegations of a toxic work environment.
Chair Mike Lombardi says it’s the first he’s heard.
“We will fully co-operate with any investigation by WorkSafeBC. I’ve never had anything ever reported to me as a board chair or as a trustee, and I would expect if there was any of that it would come to my attention.”
Superintendent Scott Robinson and Secretary Treasurer Russell Horswill stepped down for medical leave on Tuesday.
Keith Baldrey with Global News obtained a copy of the letter.
“Here’s an excerpt from the letter… ‘The Vancouver School Board work environment continually and cumulatively creates a toxicity which fosters fear and a lack of sense of safety for those lead educators as the expectations requested of them are unmanageable.’… they are asking the Ministry to intervene.”
Baldrey asked Lombardi if he or other school trustees would step down amidst the allegations.
“Absolutely not. I was elected by the citizens of Vancouver to provide leadership. And I’m doing that with my trustees. Investigations can take place and they will take place as they’re brought to our attention. Nobody has talked to me about these issues. The minister has not talked to me, the deputy minister has not talked to me, this is the first I’ve heard of it.”
As Baldrey reports, the Education Ministry says trustees can be replaced with public trustees if they’re found to be not in compliance with their duties.
If the allegations are proven, trustees could face dismissal.