A Rainbow District School Board trustee barred from all school board meetings until his term is up at the end of the November said he will attempt to take his seat at the Aug. 28 board meeting anyway.
Larry Killens, an outspoken, long-time trustee who represents the Manitoulin Island area, was barred from attending meetings by his fellow trustees last month for what the board says are code of conduct violations.
Among the accusations against him are trying to facilitate litigations against the board, sharing confidential information and making disparaging comments about staff and members of the board.
Killens, who claims the accusations are false, said he doesn't know what will happen when he tries to take his seat, but he does know what he wants to do.
He said he'll try to ask his fellow trustees under what rule he's been barred from attending board meetings for five months.
Under the Education Act, sanctions that can be taken against a trustee include admonishment, preventing them from sitting on committees and banning them from a meeting or part of a meeting, he said.
His interpretation of that, Killens said, is the board isn't allowed to ban him from more than one meeting at a time, meaning his five-month sanction shouldn't be valid. The sanction would take him past the Oct. 22 election and, since he's not seeking re-election, effectively ends his tenure as trustee early.
He said he also wants to ask the board to clarify their specific accusations, as he's never received a full explanation.
“I will leave as long as they tell me what these five sanctions are, and also, most importantly, where do you get the authority to suspend me for more than a meeting as the legislation says,” he said.
“If they answer that, I will walk out quietly and calmly.”
When asked if he thinks a trespass order will be taken out against him — the board famously has a longstanding trespass order against two parents outspoken about board politics — Killens admits that may well happen.
The retired police officer said there's no reason to issue a trespass order against him, as he said he's “not being boisterous, not causing a problem, and I'm not an undesirable person.”
But if a trespass notice is issued, Killens said he plans to violate it, as the matter will be decided in court, and he doesn't figure there's any chance of conviction, and even if there is, it's a minor penalty.
When asked about Killens' plans to take his seat at the next meeting, school board chair Doreen Dewar sent the following email response to Sudbury.com.
"We hope that Trustee Killens respects the collective wishes of his colleagues on the board," she said. "However, should Trustee Killens try to take his seat at the Aug. 28 meeting, it would be another example of how he breaches the Code of Conduct."
Dewar also issued a written statement following Killens' banning last month. It reads as follows:
“Rainbow District School Board is governed by the Education Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act,” the statement reads.
“As elected officials, we have a legal and moral obligation to ensure that we comply with this legislation.
“As per the Education Act, we have adopted Board Policy No. GOV-05 – the Code of Conduct for Board members.
“This governance policy guides the actions of Board members/trustees of Rainbow District School Board as they carry out their duties as described in the Education Act, regulations, and Board policy.
“This policy aligns the conduct of Board members with the guiding principles in the Rainbow District School Board Code of Conduct. Board members occupy positions of public trust and responsibility.
“They are expected to maintain the integrity of the Board and their positions as trustees by acting in a professional and impartial manner. It is imperative that trustees act, and be seen to act, in the best interests of the young people they serve.