St. Mike’s very laboured, tentative media effort

di Joe Volpe del 20 November 2018

TORONTO - The Board and Administration of St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) have a series of fiduciary obligations to the students, parents and Alumni of the school.

They do not appear to have acknowledged that yet.

In a written statement posted on its website, SMCS announced the launch of a comprehensive review of “student culture” by an independent body.

The school’s Media contact was unable to tell us how many directors, or which ones, attended; only that there was a quorum.

Still no expression of sorrow or apology to the student victim( s) or their families.

“We take responsibility for keeping our students safe”, the principal Greg Reeves is quoted as saying.

Well, clearly, they have not succeeded.

Everything they have done since some of the incidents came to light has smacked of “a cover- up to save the brand”.

The Brand belongs to the students, their parents, the alumni and their parents.

There is no evidence that the Administration or the Board reached out to any of them.

Sorry, they did decide to convene an assembly to tell everyone what they already knew, and that the Media is responsible for the “bad rap”.

The Media did not generate or create the “culture and values system” that bred these incidents.

Nor was the Media responsible for the supervision of students – in this instance, during school hours.

The Administration and Board do not appear to have taken the appropriate measures to nurture another culture or to thwart the spread of this one.

They could afford it.

At current tuition rates of $22,000 per student/client, the school’s 1080 students generate a minimum of $23,700,000 per annum – not including initiation fees and other incidental and fundraising revenues.

Even if 60 staff members were earning an average of $150,000 each, the educational costs would not exceed $9,000,000 – plenty left over for “that ounce of prevention”.

It seems they finally got around to a proper Media management strategy.

The Principal was sent around to various media outlet after having been prepared “with just the right quotes”.

There was no contrition. No announcement of staff firings. No-one held accountable. No resignations. No one seems to have been aware.

The police have now arrested six students and expanded the scope of their investigations. In a press conference, Inspector Sinopoli alluded to 50 witnesses who have been identified so far.

Another video of an SMCS “fight club” within the school itself has apparently surfaced. Yet the comprehensive review announced on November 18 does not indicate that the matter will be in the hands of a named professional third-party audit group, with expertise in such matters.

Nor is there a commitment to a firm date or decision to make public its findings. “The goal is … [to deliver] … a final report by Summer 2019”, says the announcement.

All that they have done so far is agree that they should do something: “Identification of independent, qualifies individuals [to serve on the committee] has commence and the committee is expected to be establish by the first week of December”.

No rush.

We invited Mr. Reeves to our studio for a live interview. His Media team declined – a question of time and timing. Corriere may go to the school instead.

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