Opinion

EDITORIAL: Battling Annes don't need to play blame game

There was an odd moment during the school-closure meeting last week, one we couldn't quite figure out at the time.

When the school board did its actual vote to close Qualicum Beach Elementary School, there was a smattering of applause from the back of the packed room.

The Battling Annes, aka Skipsey and Sjoo (OK, OK, Sjoo is an Anna), made reference to it in their letter to the editor today, calling the applause "unconscionable."

If we are to understand this correctly, or at least how the Battling Annes saw it, the applause was presumably from Parksville residents.

Assuming that's the case, we'd agree with that characterization. It was unconscionable. It was also rude and childish.

However, in their letter, the Battling Annes suggest this reaction of applause from the Parksville contingent was not surprising, "given the entire process undertaken by the school district pitted one community against another."

We asked for an explanation regarding this comment, received it, and still don't see it the same as the Annes.

The facts are this: Parksville had two schools close, Qualicum Beach one. Parksville is a larger community than Qualicum Beach, by about 3,000 souls. Qualicum Beach has fewer residents now than it did in 2006 (B.C. Stats).

All that aside, we cannot refer to any action, cannot repeat any quote, from any school district official — elected or otherwise — that even remotely could be considered as pitting one community against another.

To suggest the district designed a process that would pit our great communities against each other is either sour grapes or as irresponsible and childish as the applause last week. One thing is for certain: it does nothing to help either community move forward after the painful loss of schools.

It wouldn't be a reach to suggest we'll likely see Skipsey and/or Sjoo on the ballot this November in school board elections. Through this process of school closures, they both have shown dedication and passion for the school system and their community. We're hopeful they won't steer into the ditch with this community vs. community blame game in November.

— Editorial by John Harding

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