Victoria school trustee publicly scolded

Trustee Deborah Nohr censured by board of education for alleged harassment of a senior district staff member

Greater Victoria school district Trustee Deborah Nohr has been censured by the board of education for alleged harassment of a senior district staff member.

The move, announced in a statement by board chair Peg Orcherton at a meeting Monday night, follows an independent investigation into the matter by Vancouver lawyer Judith Anderson.

Orcherton confirmed Wednesday the decision to publicly censure Nohr was made after trustees reviewed Anderson’s findings at a special meeting Sept. 12. Orcherton wouldn’t say who was in attendance at that meeting or comment further on the matter.

Censure is typically a written expression of formal disapproval for one’s actions but does not disqualify a trustee from serving on the board. It has rarely been used by school boards in B.C. and Orcherton said it’s the first time such action has been taken in her 11 years on the Greater Victoria board.

The statement she read Monday listed allegations against Nohr:

Failing to respect the will of the majority of the board.

Sending an email of which the timing, content and distribution was offensive and derogatory to a senior staff member.

• Communicating directly with an agency in a manner that could have led to sanctions and penalties on the school district.

• Her public derogatory and untrue statements about a senior employee’s handling of a board motion.

• Communicating with district staff in a manner that undermines the role of a senior staff member and the board of education.

The allegations and accompanying statement did not make reference to specific incidents.

It did say Nohr has been given direction on the board’s expectations of her and that “some limitations have been put in place to ensure a respectful working environment.”

Attempts to contact Nohr were unsuccessful by the News deadline.