Jeff Green | Mar 19, 2009
Back to HomeEditorial - March 19, 2009 Plevna Paranoia: Strength or VulnerabilityEditorial by Jeff Green
At the first two public meetings of the Limestone School Boards Program and Accommodation Review, (PARC) the largest contingent in the audience came from the smallest school, Clarendon Central in Plevna.
In spite of repeated assurances that school closings had not been discussed, the people from Plevna and the surrounding communities kept hammering on the same point.
They wanted the review committee to know that their school is important to them, and that they consider keeping the school to be a matter of their very survival as a community.
In doing so, they demonstrated how vulnerable their small communities are, and how hard it is to keep a small township from falling right off the map.
They also demonstrated, with every heartfelt plea and with every angry accusation that there is a lot strength left in that very community. The strength comes in unity; it comes in their willingness to insist that their little school is indeed the best place for their children to learn how to read and write, learn how to play sports, and learn how to treat their neighbours.
To a certain extent the anger was misplaced, because the PARC is made up of volunteers - parents, teachers and staff from local schools that are not serving any hidden personal or corporate agendas. But they are serving a function not only for the school board but also for the Ministry of Education and ultimately the provincial government, and the message the parents were sending was aimed primarily at those bodies.
Not all the people who came out to the meetings have children attending Clarendon Central any more. Even though their children are long gone, from the school and from North Frontenac, they took the time come out and support young families, understanding that the remaining core of young families are essential to their future as a community.
No one knows what the PARC process will lead to, but the members of the PARC will have to take notice of these interventions when they come to make their decisions. The representatives on the PARC who come from Clarendon Central will make sure they do. The message that was sent by the people at the public meetings, to the PARC and to themselves, is that they are not willing to give up on their communities, their neighbours, or on their way of life.
It is a message that bodes well for the future of North Frontenac. Sometimes it is only the stubborn that survive.