Parents of children attending a French Immersion school failed in their application seeking to overturn a decision to close the school, as the court found that the school board did not breach its duty of procedural fairness in deciding to close the school

Administrative law – Schools – Closures – School boards – Jurisdiction – Boards and tribunals – Procedural fairness

MacGregor v. Halifax Regional School Board, [2002] N.S.J. No. 334, Nova Scotia Supreme Court, July 17, 2002, Coughlan J.

The school board voted to close École Beaufort, a school providing French immersion education. The Applicants, parents of children attending the school, applied for orders in the nature of certiorari to quash the decision to close the school and in the nature of mandamus, ordering the Board to make its decision about school attendance boundaries for the coming year on the basis that Beaufort remain open. The Applicants contended the Board had breached its policy established to govern school closure and had treated the school differently from other schools because it offered a French immersion program.

The court dismissed the action holding that the Board did not breach its duty of procedural fairness. The court held that the Applicants were provided with a meaningful opportunity to present their case fully and fairly. The court found that the procedure for the closure of Beaufort was the same as for the other schools in the district. The Board had established a policy dealing with the French immersion program pursuant to the Education Act (S.N.S. 1995-1996, c. 1) and Regulations. In this case, the Board dealt with the issues arising from the closure of Beaufort pursuant to its established policy as it was entitled to do. In the result, the application was dismissed.

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