Dealing with Conflict Management
The Edmonton Catholic School District is committed to working cooperatively and responsibly with the parents of its students. At the same time, Edmonton Catholic Schools recognizes that with over 40,000 students; 4,500 employees and leave the 48,000 parents and guardians all engaged in the education of Edmonton Catholic Schools students, differences in understanding, interpretation and opinion may occur. Therefore, protocol and procedures are established to deal with parent-school conflict.
Edmonton Catholic Schools believes:
- (a) that by initiating a process of conflict resolution, it will be better able to promote conflict resolution that is ethically sound, that responds to the needs of students, staff and parents, and that is in keeping with the basic beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church;
- (b) that when it takes a proactive approach and open stance toward conflict resolution, it is better able to facilitate increased cooperation, communication and understanding among the members of its school community;
- (c) that conflict resolution is most successfully achieved when mutually acceptable solutions are arrived at through procedures that are designed to find what is in the best interests of the students as well as the individual school and the school district as a whole.
The following principles shall act as guidelines for the resolution of parent-school conflicts in Edmonton Catholic Schools:
- (a) Edmonton Catholic Schools recognizes the freedom of all members of the school community (students, staff, parents and neighbours) to voice their concerns in an appropriate manner to the appropriate school personnel.
- (b) The school has a responsibility to facilitate communication and to provide procedural direction to parents who initiate complaints or concerns in accordance with the policy and regulations.
- (c) All parties in a conflict situation must recognize and respect the protocol, and more specifically the principle of "first contact." This means that the person(s) who have the concern, have a responsibility to begin addressing the concern directly with those persons with whom they have the concern before taking their concern elsewhere.
- (d) All parties in a conflict situation shall be treated with, and have the responsibility to treat each other with fairness, dignity, and respect.
- (e) All parties will deal with their concerns in a manner that is consistent with the teachings of the Church.
- (f) Attempts will be made to deal with concerns, that are brought to the attention of the school in an appropriate manner, in a timely fashion.
- (g) Conflict resolution protocols shall respect the provisions of the School Act, The Code of Professional Conduct of the Alberta Teachers' Association, and Edmonton Catholic Schools policies.
On the basis of the principle of "first contact" - parents must address concerns directly to teachers before raising these concerns with the school administration or Catholic Education Services staff, when their concerns are about their child's teacher, program, and/or program support.
Likewise, if a parent has a concern about the school administration, the parent is expected to deal with that concern with the school administration first, before raising these concerns with the Superintendent of Schools.
If, in the view of the complainant, the ruling of the school principal is unacceptable, the complainant may address his/her concern(s) to the Superintendent of Schools in writing. The letter must outline the nature of the original complaint, the steps that have been taken, and in what way the decision of the school principal is unacceptable. Upon receipt of such a letter, the Superintendent will direct the correspondence to the appropriate department for resolution.