Wednesday, December 12, 2012

BREAKING: Speight Surrenders Teaching License

In a stunning development, the South Shore Regional School Board has reached a settlement with a controversial ex-elementary school teacher. The board confirmed the deal involving Peter Speight this evening during their regular monthly meeting at Hebbville Academy. The arrangements of the deal include the former Grade 3 teacher immediately resign and surrender his teaching license. Financial terms of the arrangement have not been revealed. Superintendent Nancy Pynch-Worthylake says the financial terms are confidential but confirmed Speight will be paid on top of the $150,000 already owed in back pay. The agreement was announced after the school board moved in-camera for nearly an hour to consult with their legal team. Lawyer John MacPherson told board members there had been a flurry of developments regarding the matter and that a settlement had been reached. The elected board then passed a motion to accept the terms of the settlement in unanimous fashion. Late Wednesday, Education Minister Ramona Jennex ordered the school board to place Speight on administrative leave until a judicial review process was complete. The South Shore Regional School Board had been ordered to give Speight his teaching position back even though he had pleaded guilty to sex charges more than three years ago. Speight was given a conditional discharge at the time and was later fired by the board for his actions. However, after a judicial review it was determined he was unreasonably discharged and deemed a low risk to re-offend - a decision upheld by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in November. The Department of Education and local school board had been fighting for the last few year's to block Speight's return to the classroom. The settlement means Speight will not be making another appearance at New Germany Elementary.

BREAKING: Controversial Teacher Put On Administrative Leave

Education Minister Ramona Jennex is intervening into the situation surrounding the controversial return of an ex-elementary school teacher. Jennex is directing the South Shore Regional School board to put Peter Speight on administrative leave until the status of his teaching certificate is complete. The minister says students at New Germany Elementary School need a stable, positive learning environment. Speight was given a conditional discharge in 2009 after he pleaded guilty to committing an indecent act in Halifax, and courts have ruled he should get his job back. The Department of Education has applied for a judicial review into an arbitrator's decision to return Speight's teaching certificate. A date for the hearing has not been set.

Lunenburg County Officer Faces Four Charges

The province's Serious Incident Response Team has laid four charges against a member of the RCMP in Lunenburg County. The independent body says the charges stem from alleged incidents which occurred over a two year period between December of 2010 and last August. The investigation was launched after a referral from the Bridgewater Police Service regarding an allegation of domestic violence against an RCMP member. The SIRT issued charges in August and include assault, sexual assault, uttering threats and careless use of a firearm. The male officer will return to Bridgewater court in the new year. The Serious Incident Response Team is responsible for investigating all serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia.

White Point Beach Resort Will Host Open House

White Point Beach Resort is welcoming the community Friday afternoon. Officials are throwing an open house to let residents view the new building. Visitors will be able to take in the main lodge, pool area, and kitchen. Frances Dickson, author of "Destination White Point" will sign copies of her book. As well, a smudging ceremony will take place to cleanse the inside of the lodge. The open house begins at 3:30 Friday.

Bowater Mill Site Future Outlined By Premier

Resolute Forest Products Ltd. closed the former Bowater-Mersey paper mill near Liverpool in June.
As expected, the former Bowater Mersey paper mill in Brooklyn will be converted into a research, development and demonstration facility. Premier Darrell Dexter made the announcement this morning at the site. He says his government is teaming up with Emera and Cellufuel, a renewable energy company, to launch the site. The establishment of the centre comes after the government made a deal this week to acquire the Bowater woodlands from Resolute Forest Products Ltd. while taking on $117.7 million in debt. Emera has signed-on as the centre's first tenant, promising to spend at least $1 million over the next five years. The provincial government is also giving $500,000 to Cellufuel, and half of that money is intended to help the company turn wood biomass into renewable diesel fuel.

Town Seeks Appraisal For Library Building

The town of Bridgewater will get a King Street property appraised before deciding on its future. Two expressions of interest have been received by the town for the library by a group known as Cafe 12, the other by Swain and Associates. Councillors have decided to spend a few thousand dollars to see how much the property is worth. Mayor David Walker says its a necessary move.

Walker says an appraisal could answer questions around renovation costs and building code regulations. He says time is on their side as the property will have a tenant until at least the spring. Details on the appraisal will be released in the new year.

School Board: Larger Venue For Monthly Meeting

The South Shore Regional School Board has shifted the location of it's regular meeting to accomodate a larger crowd. In a tweet, the board states they will hold Wednesday's meeting at Hebbville Academy. The shift in location is an effort to accomodate the big crowd expected to hear more about the situation regarding Peter Speight. The local school board indicates the meeting is open to the public. It begins at 7 o'clock. For more information on the Speight story, check our website for the latest.

VIDEO: New Germany: Uproar Over Ex-Teacher's Past

Community members are in an uproar after restorative justice officials kept them out of a meeting with a former teacher. Roughly 125 parents attended last night's meeting at New Germany Elementary to question Peter Speight, while almost 30 people waited outside the school gym. Families are concerned because the Bridgewater native is on the verge of being reinstated as a teacher after pleading guilty to sex offences that occurred in the Halifax-area in 2008. Speight was given a conditional discharge and later fired by the South Shore Regional School Board. However,  an arbitrator deemed Speight was unreasonably 'let go' - a ruling later upheld in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.  Jamie Brewer's child attends the elementary school. She is surprised Speight is so close to getting his job back.

Meanwhile, Jolene Emino Mailman has a step-grandchild in the school. She questions the whole process.

Dozens of parents are threatening to transfer their children to different schools if the former Grade 3 teacher returns to the classroom. The Department of Education has filed for a judicial review of an arbitrator's decision to reinstate his teaching certificate. No date has been set for the hearing. The meeting was briefly interrupted when an individual stormed into the closed door meeting. Police escorted the man out of the school without incident.