Letters to the editor – Feb. 10

Weekly letters to the editor from within the Sooke community.

How does this guy get to keep his job?

Re: Teacher rebuked for calling student ‘Taliban’ (News, Feb. 3)

When I began reading this story about former EMCS teacher Matthew Shaun Pell, I thought that he might have mistakenly used “Taliban” as a kind of generic term for anyone of Muslim faith or background, or was perhaps guilty of making a very bad joke. That would have been inexcusable enough, given his status as a public school teacher. They’re supposed to know better, right?

But then I read further and discovered that Mr. Pell was actually quite deliberate in his Taliban reference, and had even heaped on the general abuse with more precise taunting (“Don’t make her angry otherwise she’ll bomb you.”).

Most of us (including me) have our fears and prejudices about threats arising from the Middle East, but to vent those fears on a young teenager over whom you have been given a position of trust and authority is inexcusable.

Mr. Pell bullied a child in front of her peers, and I have no doubt he left scars on the student that will last her lifetime.

So, what’s his punishment? Something vague about signing a “consent resolution agreement” and attending a whitewashing “Building Cultural Intelligence” course. Oh … and of course he had to say “Sorry!” Does anyone actually believe there’s genuine contrition here?

Not good enough in my opinion.

For his bullying and harassment of a young student, this man should have lost his job on the spot, as opposed to moving on to another nearby teaching opportunity.

This is a classic case of the teachers’ union looking after one of its own, instead of looking to the needs of the very students with which it’s been entrusted. Nice.

John Campbell

Sooke

 

Golf course, theatre would be welcome

Re: Sooke needs a golf course (Letters, Feb. 3)

I would echo letter-writer Pirjo Raits sentiment: We love DeMamiel Golf Course.

DeMamiel is a challenging little course, very well maintained, affordable and it can be played in 40 minutes. This is ideal for me as a retired person who is predictably now busier than ever.

Last year, I joined Metchosin ladies golf league as, other than DeMamiel, it was closest to home. It would be wonderful to have a movie theatre here, also.

I don’t know how financially viable that would be but we really miss the little Caprice theatre in Langford. It was so affordable and just a nice evening out.

A theatre is also a venue that accommodates all age groups and would be an additional place for the youth to go.

Michele Atchison

Sooke

 

Stories on bats appreciated

Re: Researchers looking for hibernating bats (News, Feb. 3)

Kudos to the Sooke News Mirror for again promoting bat research on South Vancouver Island.

Given the millions of bats killed in Eastern North America by the white nose syndrome fungus since February 2006, this research is critical given the fact that the so-far incurable fungus is steadily moving west.

The bitter pill to swallow is that the fungus is not native to North America but originates in Eastern and Central Europe. It first popped up in an upstate Schoharie County, New York cave, popular with spelunkers. The most likely source being unclean equipment used by a caver who had been in Europe.

So, yet another case of an unwelcome foreign species decimating our native species.

Andy Neimers

Sooke

 

District hiring practices come under question

Re: District of Sooke hires director of corporate services (Online, Feb. 3)

I’m not going too far out on a limb when I say I think the new CAO is taking the opportunity to stack the deck and bring in anyone she feels like hiring.

In this case, a former associate just got handed a nearly six-figure job with absolutely no transparency or accountability to those of us who get to pay his salary or the people we elected to represent us.

These should be open, competitive hirings and there should be no terminations without cause and disclosure.

If she has, in fact, sole hiring authority with no accountability based on current bylaws then they need to be changed. And quickly.

I know Mayor Maja Tait is on leave, but this isn’t right. This is not transparent or inclusive and it’s most certainly not a management style that’s bringing people together.

Harrison Lansing

Sooke