Monday, 24 October 2011

Character in the Workplace: how does Hick measure up?

Given Hick’s promotion of character education for others, we must pose some questions regarding how his own practices are exemplary of “character in the workplace.”

Has Hick shown respect for the people of Peterborough over whom he seems to think he rules?

Has he shown signs of assuming any responsibility for the community tensions he has created in the city as a result of the “Survivor” game he has imposed on them?

Has he shown honesty in his contradictory comments to the public regarding enrolment patterns and plans to deal with them, or to the Trustees in making recommendations?

Has he shown integrity in pushing ahead with an Accommodation Review process that he should have known didn’t adhere to the intent of Ministry guidelines?

Has he demonstrated any empathy with the thousands of people who will be negatively affected by his ruthless pursuit of a school closure?

Has he shown fairness in attempting to prop up his former school, TASSS, via a decision sprung on the community at the last minute to close PCVS?

Has he shown initiative in apparently making a unilateral decision to close a school even before he was hired as Director?

Okay, we have to give him that. Hick has got initiative.

Has he shown perseverance in sticking to his plan until he got things to go his way?

Okay, we have to give him that, too.

Has he shown courage in leaving Diane Lloyd to face the wrath of the public over what is likely the biggest professional mistake of his career? In creating a climate of fear of speaking freely among KPR teachers? In attempting to prohibit PCVS council from conducting its affairs on the premises of the school?

Has he shown optimism in promoting the idea that students will find it “extremely difficult” to even graduate at a school with less than 1000 students? (quoted from the minutes of the fourth ARC meeting) Or in portraying a gloomy future of empty, poorly-functioning schools in Peterborough?

Bullying is one of the behaviours that KPR’s character education policy was designed to discourage. And it has worked – particularly at PCVS. One of the reasons that many students opt to come to PCVS instead of another Peterborough school is that a wide range of diversity in appearance, personality, gender-identity, sexual orientation and interests are accepted there. Even rough-edged students from low-income households have internalized the imperative not to taunt or deride other students who are different from them as “fags.” PCVS and indeed all of KPR schools are meant to be “zero-tolerance zones” for bullying.

Does the “zero-tolerance zone” not extend all the way to Fisher Drive?

Last week a very sad story was reported nationwide of Jamie Hubley, the teenage son of an Ottawa city councillor, a young man who had been taunted and bullied for homosexuality and his interest in figure skating, and finally committed suicide.

Hick’s attempts to shut down any opinion that differs from his own is all the more ironically disappointing due to its being employed in the attempt to force the unnecessary and destructive closure of the one school in KPR that a young man in the position of Jamie Hubley could attend in hopes of escaping bullying – the school which encouraged their junior Drama class several years ago to create a theatrical piece on the topic called “Coming Out Proud,” which was put on all over KPR and was requested by outside organizations, gaining accolades even from the Ontario Provincial Police.   

Now that Hick has managed to upset thousands of Peterborough citizens and raise the ire of the Mayor and City Council with his autocratic attitude and real-life games of divide-and-conquer, what kind of “restorative justice” can we expect to see?

In KPR, it appears to be Rusty’s bus, or no bus.

That’s what we call character in the workplace.


  1. When I was at PCVS we wrote and toured an anti-bullying play. We performed at elementary schools all over the KPR.
    We dealt with all kinds of topics and it was both therapeutic for us, as well as the young students who saw our play.
    PCVS has always taken on the daunting task of not only preventing bullying at PC, but also in the KPR in general. PCVS students and staff back up their words with action and the inclusive nature of the school is an achievement in itself!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. grrr typos:
    I've had a sense that a flawed ARC process, an 11th hour swerve on the recommendations and many trustees blindly doing what they're told might be explained by bullying.

    Nobody should imagine that elected officials can't be bullied. The actions since the board decision also reek of someone at the helm who has an pre-scripted agenda and psychologically needs to win.

    So now the trustees need to reach into the bullying resources that have been developed by the very board they govern, reflect on their own experience and decide what to do for themselves.

    Lo and behold the trustees can vote the bully off the island! And then stay their decision to allow the appeal to the Ministry to proceed.

    Let's not forget we need to show love and compassion for the bully who is an injured soul in their own right.