The Gazette on the new post of Ombudsman

Check out today’s paper for an article on the new position of “Ombudsman” in school boards in Quebec.

In the article, the Chair of LBPSB is quoted as saying:

“It’s supposed to be the last court of resort,” said Marcus Tabachnick,chairpersonof theLesterB. Pearson School Board.

Tabachnick said the new role can’t hurt. “I’m not sure that it’s going to resolve a lot of issues,” he said, adding that if complaints follow the normal process, they should be settled before they reach the ombudsman.

The article itself reads:

The ombudsman can intervene after students or parents have exhausted other avenues in the complaint process.
Though in many cases it just makes sense for parents and/or students to attempt to resolve issues long before they get to the stage of feeling the need for an ombudsman, the letter of the law *does* actually allow for the ombudsman to become involved at any time in the process.

So – even if some people at some school boards are suggesting that the ombudsman is an avenue of “last resort”, please remember that according to the law itself, parents/students have the right to ask their ombudsman to become involved at any point they feel is necessary. 

At the same time, understand that most issues can and should be resolved by dealing directly with the parties concerned in an open and respectful fashion.

A final note from the article on the CSDM’s ombudsman, in place already for several years now.

He gives advice and information and handles complaints. Robardet said the process works well and he often acts as an intermediary. “I do what we call ‘shuttle diplomacy,’ ” he said.

“A lot of things get solved with discussions.”

A benefit that may be overlooked in the creation and function of this broader role of ombudsman is the fact that this unbiased person can often diffuse a situation and in fact, save a lot of time and heartache in receiving a complaint and getting it on a path to resolution before it escalates.

Truly,

Steve

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