The Riverdale High School community is hoping a new petition with some political weight behind it can make a difference after Education Minister Jean-François Roberge pledged to turn the building over to the Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board.
Jason Comm, a 29-year-old Riverdale graduate, called the decision “devastating.”
“Just to have it go away is not something our community wants,” he said.
After learning the news, Comm and a group of fellow grads started a petition to save the school on change.org. It has over 2,500 signatures, but the petition does not carry a huge amount of weight at the National Assembly.
“Our MNA that we got in contact with said we should make a petition to the National Assembly, so we did that,” Comm said.
Nelligan MNA Monsef Derraji has helped the group put forth a National Assembly petition against the school changing hands. Derraji plans to bring it to the Assembly and present it to the government.
“They asked me for help,” Derraji told Global News. “I said listen, I can help you but I can’t use your petition because it’s not an official petition. They asked me if I can put an official petition on the National Assembly.”
The new petition is open for online signatures until March 19.
Will it make a difference? Comm hopes the petition will help.
“Everyone I’m working with is hopeful,” said Comm.
In Montreal, West Island MP Frank Baylis said Friday he hadn’t heard of any potential reversal.
“I’ve not seen that from the people in administration I’ve spoken to,” Baylis told Global News.
“It seems to be a fait accompli.”
Earlier this week, former students they’re thinking about challenging the school’s closure in court.
“Help our cause, help Riverdale, sign the petition,” said Comm. “You’re not only helping Riverdale, but helping the English community as a whole in Quebec.”