International schools in Hong Kong

Ditch principal, say 870 parents in Canadian International School petition

Canadian International School management responds by saying it backs the head's decisions

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 April, 2015, 1:03am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 April, 2015, 4:30pm

Close to 900 parents of children attending the Canadian International School in Wong Chuk Hang have signed a petition calling for its principal to step down, the latest twist in a row over the governance of the school.

The petition, demanding the board of governors remove Dr Gregg Maloberti, accrued 870 signatures in a month.

This came after a manpower shake-up with the controversial sacking of primary school principal Dylan Hughes and his deputy Kathy Nutting - who had spoken out against the management - last month, a decision that outraged many parents and teachers already concerned about the running of the school.

Maloberti's appointment in August and decisions since then have caused controversy in the school community.

According to organisers, the signatures represent roughly half of the 1,269 families with children at the school. The petition was handed in to the school and the board of governors on Tuesday.

"I think we can all agree that [the appointment of Maloberti] hasn't worked out," said Morgan Parker, one of the parents. "Why would a man continue to stay in his job when he has hundreds of people voting against him? It's extremely frustrating."

Parker said that if a company CEO faced so much opposition, the firm would provide an incentive for the executive to leave. He believed the school should do the same in this case.

Parker said the petition had been "managed very professionally", as parents needed to provide details of their children at the school to be able to sign.

"They are real parents [who signed it] and it's a large number of parents," he said. "When you have so many parents feeling as strongly as they do to sign a petition, no matter what your opinion is, everyone will agree that you have a serious problem, no matter if you are a parent who signed it or didn't sign it."

But another parent, speaking on condition of anonymity, said she had ignored the petition campaign as she believed it was pointless and that the situation was not so serious.

She said parents should trust the school to make the correct decisions.

A spokeswoman for the school said: "Canadian International School of Hong Kong is a private, independent school. The Board of governors stands behind the decisions made by the Head of School."

She said the school would continue to have open dialogue with all stakeholders and "is keen to move the school forward".

The parents' petition echoes a teachers' survey last month which showed 96 per cent of them had no confidence in Maloberti. Some 87.3 per cent said they would consider not renewing their teaching contracts as a result of Maloberti's leadership.

The petition began circulating at a March 17 meeting of over 600 parents and 120 teachers.