January 20, 2016 6:32 pm
Updated: January 20, 2016 7:43 pm

Alberta minister to meet with Palliser school board after petition alleges ‘culture of fear’

Kevin Gietz in April 2014, after being awarded a new 5-year contract by Palliser Regional Schools.

Sarolta Saskiw / Global News

LETHBRIDGE – As a lawsuit and allegations of improper conduct continue to swirl around Palliser Regional Schools Superintendent Kevin Gietz, Alberta Minister of Education David Eggen is preparing to address the situation.

Minister Eggen was not available for an interview Wednesday, but provided Global News with this statement:

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“I am aware of the motion put forward by Palliser Regional Schools and the online petition. I have arranged to meet with Palliser’s board of trustees in the coming days and will be discussing appropriate next steps with them at that time.  It’s important that all students, staff and parents have confidence in their school board to deliver a proper education for our children and a safe work environment for employees.”

A group calling itself “Concerned Parents of Palliser Schools” created an online petition asking Minister Eggen to oversee an independent review into the school system after allegations of a “culture of fear” and abusive behaviour from Gietz. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 520 people had signed the petition.

The petition comes as Palliser faces a lawsuit from a former employee over allegations of an “oppressive atmosphere” and “unwanted physical touching” in relation to Gietz.

In a statement of defence, Palliser Regional Schools denies the allegations and claims they “are entirely without merit”.  Gietz himself requested the independent review in a letter, and asked that it start as soon as possible. He wrote the allegations are “distracting staff from daily operations and a focus on students and student learning.”


© 2016 Shaw Media

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