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Public ‘drama’ over Beaumont dismissal slammed by school trustees

Board of Education members call for an end to 'vitriolic nonsense'

At Tuesday night’s Langley Board of Education meeting, several trustees asked the community to stop the “vitriolic nonsense” surrounding the board’s decision to fire Superintendent Cheryl Beaumont.

“I have watched what has been going on and had no interest in responding to the vitriolic nonsense, but felt we must inform the public,” said Trustee Megan Dykeman.

“I am distressed by people in this community creating so much drama. Shame on them for their duplicity.”

Dykeman's remarks were directed at some of the failed candidates, their supporters and those spreading "misinformation."

Chair Wendy Johnson formally announced that Assistant Superintendent Suzanne Hoffman will be acting superintendent of schools on an interim basis, while they begin a search for a permanent superintendent.

“The board has every confidence in Suzanne Hoffman,” said Johnson.

Last Tuesday, the board sent out a press release announcing Beaumont was leaving the school district to “pursue other ventures.”

But longtime Trustee Alison McVeigh said Beaumont was fired by “five trustees who were part of a secret slate, supported by unions.”

Johnson refused to say whether Beaumont was fired, nor would she say how much Beaumont’s departure was going to cost taxpayers. Beaumont was making $198,503 a year and had just renewed her contract to 2014 with a 23 per cent raise.

On Tuesday, Trustee Rob McFarlane asked the community to stop going after Johnson for a decision the entire board made.

“When a situation occurs, it is the role of the chair to put out a press release.

“To personally go after the chair is wrong. Criticism should go to the board, not the chair.

“And the release did say Beaumont has left to pursue other interests,” said McFarlane.

Later, Trustee Rod Ross said the “focus is how do we strengthen the district?"

“Our district has been weakened [by the loss of Beaumont],” Ross said.

Trustee Cecelia Reekie said she is deeply saddened by the attacks made on the board for this decision.

“I am asking the community to walk softly.

“Is this how we lead by example? . . . I hope as a community we can remain respectful,” said Reekie.

On Tuesday, the Langley Teachers Association issued a press release denying it played any role in the firing of Beaumont. Its contents can be found here.

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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