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Lisa-Marie Gervais May 2, 2013
Photo : Annik MH De Carufel Le Devoir
The Saint-Pierre-Claver school is located in the Plateau-Mont-Royal at the intersection of two major streets.
A citizen assembly aiming to sensitize drivers to the security of the children attending the Saint-Pierre-Claver school, located at the intersection of two major arteries in the Plateau-Mont-Royal, ended unexpectedly Thursday morning when the police intervened by virtue of municipal bylaw P-6. The assembly, that was attended by several elected officials, ended abruptly at around 8am, coinciding with the beginning of classes.
According to Marianne Giguère, a mother who is very involved in matters of security in the vicinity of the school, around six police officers in cars and on bicycles announced to the 80-odd parents and children who were crossing from one corner of the street to the other, all while respecting the street lights, that the demonstration was illegal by virtue of P-6. The intervention was even more surprising to the parents because the community agent assigned to the school had been advised about the awareness action and had already been onsite since 7:30am.
"People had begun to cross without impeding traffic, because we wanted it to be a positive and safe demonstration, and the police arrived in their cars, then another two by bicycle. We were told that our demonstration was illegal because we hadn’t provided an itinerary", says Mrs. Giguère. "We dispersed and it turned out all right in one way, because school was starting and there was already a movement of children who were going inside".
Mrs. Giguère underlines ironically the “discernment” the police officers promised to demonstrate, especially by stating that they would not intervene nor demand an itinerary in cases of celebratory demonstrations following hockey games, for example. “That discernment wasn’t present this morning”, she remarked.
Located at the intersection of De Lorimier and Saint-Joseph boulevard, which has a high stream of traffic, the Saint-Pierre-Claver school is in a dangerous zone, according to the Director of Public Health. Since the autumn, parents have mobilized and have made a case at several borough council meetings for better signage and a reduced speed limit. “We wanted to sensitize drivers and for it to be clear that they were driving by a school”, explains Mrs. Giguère. “Some folks weren’t too happy, but the majority honked at us supportively.”
Three weeks ago, a young girl from the school was hit by a car while attempting to pick up a ball that had bounced into the street. She came away from the accident with a broken arm.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.