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Split Shift Policy Under Fire
(Halifax, N.S. Friday, May 24, 2002)-- In a joint announcement issued today by Joan Walls and Patti Steeves, Co-ordinators of the Charles P. Allen Action Committee, and the Honourable Peter G. Christie, MLA (Bedford-Fall River) and Len Goucher, HRM Councillor (District 21, Bedford), a firm position is being taken against the Halifax Regional School Board split shift policy at Charles P. Allen Senior High School in Bedford.
"Split shifts are simply unacceptable as they do not deliver the basic minimum hours for provincial instruction standards, nor an appropriate learning context for students," say Walls and Steeves.
"The parents and students of Bedford are extremely pleased to have the important support of both our provincial MLA, Peter Christie, and our HRM Councillor, Len Goucher, on this critical issue of rejecting split shifts as a viable option for any school board," they emphasize.
The C.P. Allen High School has been on split shifts since March, when the Halifax Regional School Board decided to order split shifts at this facility to accommodate the student body of Sir John A. MacDonald High School because this facility has a serious environmental problem.
"I want to reassure the parents, students and teachers at C. P. Allen that the current situation is totally unacceptable, and that split shifts are definitely not a viable school board option," says MLA Christie. "I am working with the C. P. Allen Action Committee and both the Department of Education and the Halifax Regional School Board representative, Peggy Draper, to remove this policy both in this school and in the province in general."
Currently, the split shifts at C. P. Allen run from 7:00 a.m. until 12:15 p.m. for the Bedford students and from 1:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. for the Sir John A. student body. On an annual basis it is been determined by the Action Committee that students lose 5.7 weeks of instruction time compared with normal schooling programming.
Councillor Goucher says, "Split shifting impacts the entire family and community. Students that are bused are picked up as early as 6:00 a.m. and as a result are caused stress, sleep deprivation and disorders that prevent a reasonable opportunity to learn and meet provincial examination standards. Not only are the hours of instruction an issue but also the time of day at which instruction is given."
In the coming days, the Halifax Regional School Board will be reviewing options to address this critical situation and all of the parties concerns want to make it clear that split shift are not an acceptable policy option.
Parents of students should make their concerns known to the Halifax Regional School Board Representatives immediately:
Dr. Allen Lowe, Acting Superintendent. 464-2000
Mike Flemming, Chair, 464-2000
Peggy Draper, Board Member 464-2324
Area B. Office, Susan Church, Assistant Superintendent 832-4370.
For Further information please contact:
Joan Walls 835-4737
Peter Christie, MLA
832-7383 and fax 832-1727
Councillor Len Goucher
835-6780 and fax 832-8903