Want to read how trustee hopefuls in other wards responded to our school-themed scenarios? Click here.

You suddenly find yourself back in grade school. You have all of your grown-up life experience, but you’re moving around the school in a young person’s body. You’re in Grade 1 and Halloween is fast approaching. Which costume do you wear to school and why? 

Public school board candidates

Julie Hrdlicka: I would choose Wonder Woman. Because she is awesome!

Separate school board candidates

Antonio Balangue: Abraham Lincoln. He is one of the greatest American presidents. He emancipated the slaves. I will not tolerate slavery. I will not tolerate man’s inhumanity against his fellow man. I don’t believe one race is superior to the other.

Mary Martin: First, I would recognize that as a Grade One student, I can be a leader and role model. Whatever costume I selected, I would ensure that it represented a positive, aspirational being.

How time flies. You’re in Grade 9. Your teacher is insisting you vote for which school club to cut because there’s a shortage of teachers to run the clubs. Which one gets the thumbs down? Explain your decision, please.

Public school board candidates

Julie Hrdlicka: Chess club. I would be extremely upset to have to make the choice. In the end I would have to say chess club. I didn’t know how to play it in grade 9 and still not a chess player today. Sorry chess club:(

Separate school board candidates

Antonio Balangue: Gay straight alliance club.What they need is acceptance for who they are. Unlike other clubs, it does not help the students to develop skills. I will allow them to form the club but without a teacher to run it.

Mary Martin: Chess club. As a Grade Nine student, I would not make that decision unilaterally because I would recognize that a decision such as this belongs to many. It would be important to ensure that any clubs created are welcoming to all who wish to join. Because grade nine students have an acute sense of social justice, I expect that meeting the needs of the most vulnerable would be a priority. Given the choices, I would speculate that the chess club may be of lowest interest.

You’re in high school. You realize that one of your friends has been bullying another student because of his sexual orientation. You go to a teacher about the need to start a Gay Straight Alliance club, but her reception is lukewarm. You can tell she’s not going to help. How are you going to make this happen?

Public school board candidates

Julie Hrdlicka: First off you know the law is behind you. Schools are required to start a GSA if students request it.  If your teacher is not keen then you can go to your principal and work out a plan to find a teacher who is eager to take this on. From my experience there are many teachers in our schools that would be honoured to support the work of students in a GSA.

Separate school board candidates

Antonio Balangue: I not organize a Gay Straight Alliance club but I will very actively prevent my friends from bullying another student because of his sexual orientation.

Mary Martin: First, I would be speaking to my friend to ensure that his or she knew that her behavior is unacceptable. Secondly, I would support the vulnerable student – each student needs to feel safe and welcomed every day – no exceptions. Thirdly, I would speak to an administrator about the need to ensure that the school environment is safe and welcoming – there are many ways with which to accomplish this – clubs are only one. I would recognize as a high school student that everyone is responsible for a safe, welcoming, inclusive culture at a school.

It is nearing the end of the tenth grade and marijuana has been legalized for a little over a month. You and a few other students learn that a teacher smokes a lot of cannabis at home. Do you think she should be held to a different standard when it comes to her recreation? 

Public school board candidates

Julie Hrdlicka: As long as the teacher is abiding the law and then I don’t see the problem.

Separate school board candidates

Antonio Balangue: No, as long as it doesn’t adversely affect her performance as a teacher and as long as she doesn’t encourage her students to smoke cannabis.

Mary Martin: As a Grade Ten student, I learn a lot about leadership and integrity from interacting and observing the role models around me. Teachers are a critical role model. It is vitally important that we have educators who are inspirational; who can bring out the best in people. In my experience as a student, I have been most fortunate to have teachers who do just that. Like everyone else, teachers will have to navigate a dynamic environment- the legalization of recreational marijuana is one such example. It will be important to work together.

 All responses have been edited for typos, but not for spelling or syntax.

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