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Thank You Mr. Milligan: A Bright Light With the Thames Valley School Board

Evelina Silveira, President Diversity At Work

So often we hear how the school system is failing to keep our children safe. How bullying seems to be on the rise and the labour strife between the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and the Government of Ontario doesn’t seem to want to budge.

But amid the turmoil, is a shining light at the Thames Valley District School Board — a principal who takes his job seriously when it comes to children’s safety and inclusive education.

Mr. Colin Milligan of Princess Anne French Immersion School in London, has put the “pal” back into the word “principal” with his kind but firm and professional approach to dealing with both parents and students.

He heads a large elementary school with a cross-section of diverse children from South London and beyond.

When a group of dispondent Grade 7 children came to visit him expressing their disappointment with the withdrawal of extra-curricular activities, he listened. Others may have turned the children away, but he decided that they would problem solve together. They surveyed their fellow students and came up with some ideas of what they could do. They were involved in an assembly and collaborated on a video on the theme of “Words are Powerful” and that was just the beginning!

Mr. Milligan takes bullying seriously, and he doesn’t need a school policy to tell him it is wrong. He doesn’t tolerate it. Not because he has to. Because he wants to and it comes from his heart.

My daughter spends a lot of time in the principal’s office and so do her friends. Not because they are in trouble, but because they like him and they want to work with him to build the best school possible. Their education has been enriched by the projects, teamwork and nurtured friendships. When I get a call from the school principal, it’s a good thing.

(In my day, going to the principal’s office to talk about a problem was unthinkable. You might as well suffer in silence until graduation because they acted more like sergeants than role models. Change is good).

Thank you also to Madame Wilkie the school’s Vice Principal who is also another empathetic ear, a real gem and a great role model for the students.

Merci Madame et Monsieur pour ton bon travail. Felicitations!

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