“It’s a mess” at the school of Saint-Laurent

No lockers, the cafeteria was closed last week, young people are losing school hours because the teachers, like the students, were not given the right schedule.

Posted at 12 noon

Louise Leduc

Louise Leduc
The press

According to a teacher “it’s a mess” at Saint-Laurent High School, this Montreal establishment has been upset since February over allegations of sexual assault against a manager and two basketball coaches.

“This school should have been under receivership for six months,” an employee sums up in confidence The press.

Because the schedules are not right, it happens that there are more than 50 young people in a room designed to accommodate 25 students. The ‘surplus’ teens sometimes stayed at the back of the classroom before being moved to other rooms. It also happened that supervisors were called in to provide reinforcement in the absence of teachers who did not have the correct schedule themselves or who refused to work under such conditions.

No cafeteria

With the cafeteria not open last week – a last minute news – employees started buying food from supermarkets for students who normally get free meals due to their parents’ hardship. Not to mention the students walking around with their bags containing their books, their lunches and their physical education clothes – which is normally forbidden for security reasons – because they have no criminal record.

“Several members have challenged us,” explains David Hamel, interim president of the West Montreal Teachers’ Union.

From 3e Secondary, continues David Hamel, teachers normally have no more than 32 students at a time. Last week he confirmed through the mess that sometimes there are more than 50 students in groups.

The refusal to teach is not an instruction, he adds, but the union has advised teachers to promptly notify their managers of the issue once such proportions are exceeded.

Departure of the director’s right arm

According to several interviewees, the mess stems mainly from the hasty departure of Daniel Lacasse, who is not only… coach of the basketball team. The one accused of sexual assault (as were two other coaches) looked after the small weekly schedules of students and teachers, the cafeteria, the duties of each, etc. He was basically the headmaster’s right-hand man and the school’s administrative honcho.

Annick Lartigau, president of the school board of Saint-Laurent, also explains that the absence of Daniel Lacasse, who was the heart of the whole school board, is strongly felt, from a strict point of view, from a management perspective. Having so much control over the school may seem precious when things are going well, she notes, but when they’re gone and the knowledge transfer hasn’t taken place, it’s very complicated.

When Mr. Lacasse was in court, the schedules of students and teachers were entrusted to computer programmers, according to what Mr. Lacasse said.me Lartigau knew. It seems that “computer programming has its limits” and that the programmers were not in control of all the subtleties of the school (which is divided, among other things, into two buildings for teachers to move between).

The schedules were reportedly given to management at the last minute, who noticed many errors, without having time to correct them.

It was not possible to interview with the Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Service Center (CSSMB) or with the management of the Sint-Laurent School. The answer came by email.

The media service pointed out that “returning to high school is a complex operation that requires multiple adjustments. The Saint-Laurent secondary school, as in other large schools, requires a period of adjustment, especially with regard to staff rosters,” reads the email from Chrystine Loriaux, CSSMB communications director.

The CSSMB adds that 80 new students have been late enrolling, that the school is welcoming an additional 130 students this year, etc.

On the website of the board of directors of the Saint-Laurent school we cannot find the names of the people who are part of it and as of Monday no minutes had been published there since May 2021. The chairman, mr.me Lartigau, making sure everything was handled on time and in full compliance with the laws, but also that the school service center Marguerite-Bourgeoys on this side also had computer problems.

The school service center said Tuesday afternoon that “these documents require a signature before being put online” and will be done soon.

With Alice Girard-Bossé, The press

More information user manual

  • 2200
    Estimated number of students at Saint-Laurent High School (in the Saint-Laurent neighborhood, Montreal)

    Source: Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Service Center

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