Letter: Facts vs. fear at Coquitlam elementary school

The Editor, Re. “Irvine parents want a new, safe school” (The Tri-City News, Oct. 21).

The Editor,

Re. “Irvine parents want a new, safe school” (The Tri-City News, Oct. 21).

article continues below

When I read Port Coquitlam Trustee Judy Shirra’s comment in the referenced article cautioning me and other parents not to engage in “fearmongering” — thus implying that we were — my first reaction was to fire back, get angry.

But then I played with my dog for a few minutes, took a walk and reconsidered what I should say in response. And I started to do what I always tell my kids to do when they are in conflict. I asked myself two simple questions. The first is: “What is true here?” In the group we’ve formed to raise awareness and advocate for seismic mitigation and safety for BC children, what is the truth of what we’ve done?

We’ve researched. We’ve spoken out at parent advisory council meetings. We started a Facebook group and written letters and emails. We hosted an information night.

We’ve handed out fact sheets with facts taken right from the B.C. government’s own website and from research conducted by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC and the Civil Engineering Department at UBC.

I wonder if Ms. Shirra is going to call the UBC Department of Civil Engineering “fearmongering” because, wow, check out its website.

We put goofy homemade cardboard “bricks” on our heads and took a few pictures. We needed media attention. A bit of a stunt, sure, but is it going to strike fear in the hearts of parents and children everywhere? I doubt it. Let’s not forget, thousands of children all over the province just participated in earthquake drills — do you consider that “fearmongering”?

What else is true here?

The use of the word “fearmongering” implies that we are engaging in a fear-based campaign that is exaggerating or lying about the real dangers. Using that word is a way of shaming us and silencing us. That is not what we’ve done and Ms. Shirra, you do us and the children of this province a disservice by implying that we have.

You are our elected representative and I expected better.

Diane Currie Sam,

Port Coquitlam

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