Parents oppose presence of adult students in Vancouver secondary school
Anthony Wong, PAC chair at Gladstone Secondary, Vancouver, B.C. on Monday January 27, 2014. Parents are riled about a Vancouver School Board money-saving idea to move adults from its Main Street Education Centre to a local high school. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
Parents of students at Vancouver’s Gladstone Secondary are opposing a money-saving proposal to move an adult education facility into five classrooms at the school, saying such mingling with kids is a no go.
Having adult students would make it difficult to identify potential threats, such as strangers wandering into the school, Gladstone parent advisory committee chairman Anthony Wong claimed.
“Right now … if there’s an unknown adult at the school, there are procedures to identifying the person,” he said.
That procedure, however, would be “nullified” if the proposal goes through, Wong said, since the sight of adults who aren’t school staff would be commonplace if adult students were allowed in.
The proposal is expected to annually save the district $600,000 in leasing costs and trustees are expected to make a decision in February.
More than 100 adult students could be moved in from the soon-to-be-closed Main Street Education Centre, according to district director of instruction Rob Schindel.
He said parents shouldn’t be worried, however, as adult students would be restricted to their own area, with a separate entrance, student lounge, washroom facilities and classes.
If an adult student was caught wandering out of the designated area, they’d be told to go back to their class area, which would be marked with a different paint scheme and signs.
“There would be really active, ongoing supervision with the office staff … in terms of who’s entering and who’s exiting the adult education site,” Schindel said.
He added Gladstone has a liaison police officer and any security concerns would be shared.
The school, located near the Nanaimo SkyTrain Station, wouldn’t be the first to have such a set up. Lord Roberts Elementary and Britannia Secondary also have adult-education facilities within their grounds.
“At Lord Roberts Elementary, there are elementary classrooms right beside the adult classrooms,” Vancouver School Board chairwoman Patti Bacchus said.
“What I hear from students and my own kids is everyone tends to put on their best behaviour knowing there are kids around.”
She added looking at other sites to relocate the adult school isn’t out of the question, something the district has been exploring the past five years.