Manitoulin Island’s only public school trustee has been barred from attending any more board meetings.
Last week, Larry Killens, a trustee with the Rainbow District School Board, has been barred from all board meetings until November 30th when his current term is up.
The board stated they have done so because Killens has breached several ‘code of conduct’ violations, but Killens says the allegations are unproven, untrue and hold no substance.
He emphasizes he was elected to represent the Manitoulin Island area and wasn’t elected to be a yes man for the board.
Killens fellow trustees voted in favour of the five-month-long ban at the board’s July third meeting because of what the board says is a breach of the code of conduct trustees must follow.
The motions passed by the board are as follows:
“That Trustee Larry Killens be censured for inappropriate interactions with outside individuals to encourage and/or facilitate litigations against the Board, undermining decisions of the Board, sharing confidential information and making false and disparaging comments about staff and members of the Board.
“That considering that this is Trustee Killens’ sixth sanction for violating the Code Of Conduct, that, employing progressive discipline, he be sanctioned and barred from attendance at all meetings of the Board effective immediately until November 30, 2018.”
Killens was removed from certain in-camera discussions in April 2015, and remained excluded for 13 months, a situation that led him to complain to the Ontario Ombudsman, which resulted in the Ombudsman reminding the board “to be vigilant in adhering to its obligations” under the Education Act.
Rainbow board chair Doreen Dewar also released a written statement about the July third motions.
“Rainbow District School Board is governed by the Education Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act,” the statement reads. “As elected officials, we have a legal and moral obligation to ensure that we comply with this legislation.
“As per the Education Act, we have adopted Board Policy No. GOV-05 – the Code of Conduct for Board members. This governance policy guides the actions of Board members/trustees of Rainbow District School Board as they carry out their duties as described in the Education Act, regulations, and Board policy.
“This policy aligns the conduct of Board members with the guiding principles in the Rainbow District School Board Code of Conduct. Board members occupy positions of public trust and responsibility.
“They are expected to maintain the integrity of the Board and their positions as trustees by acting in a professional and impartial manner. It is imperative that trustees act, and be seen to act, in the best interests of the young people they serve.”
“GOV-05 is available on the Board website.”
Killens adds he’ll release more information about the allegations when he gets them in writing, which he is supposed to receive under the Education Act.