Name and pronouns?
Harinder Parmar (she/her)
Tell us about yourself: (max. 100 words)
I’m a passionate advocate for children because I know it’s “easier to build strong children than to fix broken adults” and why I’ve been involved with school parent advisory councils for over 10 years, coach kids/teens in team sports, and facilitate with Parent Support Services of BC.
Making a better world starts with children; it’s a big job so we need to meaningfully include the voices of parents, students, teachers, medical/mental health professionals, and our community to make the best decisions.
I grew up in Burnaby and am now raising my three children here.
Why are you running for school board? (max. 50 words)
We have students struggling, needing EAs/assessments for learning disabilities, waiting years, falling behind, and developing more problems.
Many great teachers are burning out, because in our current conditions, they cannot properly help students. Parents are stressed, trying their best to help their children. We need to do better.
What do you think the current school board has done well? Where has it missed the mark? (max. 50 words)
Racism survey to understand a problem; we need everyone’s voices heard
Not protecting students! Children being inappropriately touched (Jan. 4 Burnaby NOW article) or sexually harassed by school adults is horrifying. We’ve had students develop mental health problems, stop attending school because of bullying and not feeling safe. It’s appalling and unacceptable.
What are the top three issues facing the next school board? (max. 50 words)
Student safety and addressing increasing mental health challenges
Ensuring all students are learning to their full potential and thriving – assess/properly support struggling students, ensure other students aren’t bored/stagnating. Teachers are overstretched trying to manage the complex needs in their classrooms.
Shortage of teachers, EAs, school counsellors
How do you plan to address those issues? (max. 150 words)
Finding the best solutions to all issues starts with honest, inclusive, open conversations.
No one person/group has all the answers, but by listening and collaborating, we can find innovative solutions.
One example: some teens want a quiet space at school to sit or do deep breathing for five minutes when stressed, to help their mental health. Let’s hear everyone’s ideas and then have wider discussions to assess them.
Some solutions are obvious, such as, if we expect counsellors to manage three elementary schools (700+ students), they won’t want the job.
Or, not supporting/protecting students, leads to long-term physical and mental health problems, and some detaching from school and starting unhealthy choices (drugs) to cope.
Our school board needs transparency, which creates accountability, diverse voices (not one party monopolies), true collaboration (not performative illusions), and to ensure their actions and words match, to address serious issues and make schools better for everyone.
And just for fun: If you got to spend one full day in school again, what grade would you return to and why? (max. 25 words)
Grade 12-because of the great friendships, teachers, and school spirit that made each day exciting and joyful.
Where can voters find out more about you? (e.g. social media, website)