Parents seek answers as Kitimat City High set to move into MEMSS

Parents attended a board of education meeting last week to seek answers regarding a decision to move Kitimat City High.

Parents of Kitimat City High students gathered at a recent Board of Education meeting in Terrace seeking answers relating to the anticipated closure and move of Kitimat City High to Mount Elizabeth Middle Secondary’s building.

The surprise decision left many parents upset and looking for answers.

Those parents don’t feel they found any at the last board meeting and now hope to get responses ahead of May’s board meeting.

And board Chair Art Erasmus said there is a possibility a special meeting may be held earlier to have a conversation with parents and students about the change. Otherwise the next chance to speak to the board is May 21.

“There’s going to be some continuing work on what’s happening with the program relocation at Kitimat City High,” said Erasmus “We’ve had some staff down in Kitimat to talk to students and parents and that happened yesterday [April 16].”

He noted that the board is not anticipating any budgetary benefit for moving the program to MEMSS and there has been no discussion on what to do with the KCH building, including any conversation to make it an employment training facility.

Among the parents at the last board meeting were Karen Jonkman and Susie Abreu.

Jonkman’s son is a recent graduate of KCH and she’s certain her son would never have succeeded at the mainstream high school.

“He was in Mount Elizabeth and it wasn’t a good fit for him. There’s no way he would have been able to do it without a program such as what they have [at KCH]. And that’s his words, not mine.”

She said the inability to speak to board members was “frustrating.”

“You expect that they would want to hear from the parents, especially in regards to making a decision like they made. But they made this decision without any consultation.”

Abreu, who has an autistic son at KCH, said the news of the change of the school was “devastating” to her family.

“I was so upset when I left [the meeting]. It’s hard when you have a child, it really affects them. I don’t want anything to happen to these kids.”

The change applies only to location and it’s planned that KCH programming will be run physically separate from MEMSS.