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Rahim Othman: candidate for School Trustee in Richmond


Your voice deserves to be heard.

Why are you running for office? To bring harmony, balance and action to the school community in Richmond

Role model: Muhammad Ali

Political role model: Nelson Mandela

What are the top four issues in this election and explain your position?

There are many areas that I would like to work with all stakeholders on. My main goal is to listen to them carefully, understand their priorities and advocate for them in the school board and in front of all levels of government. Some of the priorities that reflect what I have been hearing are the following:

• Kids and staff safety is of utmost priority and our schools are not safe until the necessary seismic upgrades are completed. We need to put an expedited plan (and mitigation plan) for all the schools that need seismic upgrade in Richmond by working with all levels of governments and stakeholders to allocate the necessary funds and resources.

• Parents and youth engagement in civic politics has been very low resulting in work that does not necessarily reflect their priorities. We need to put programs in place to encourage youth, parents and staff to engage in shaping up the school policies. I have been having several ideas from stakeholders that I will bring to table for further consideration and discussion. We need to look at the current engagement level, identify motivation factors and put a plan for execution to achieve the desirable engagement level.

• Bullying and being felt discriminated against are issues we have been making good progress to address however there is still more that we need to and can do. I will consult and work with all stakeholders (youth, school staff, parents and subject matter experts) to identify actions that strengthen our anti-bullying policies and programs while promoting harmony and acceptance and encouraging working together for common good. One program would be implementing hotline phone number to provide support and guidance to students reporting bullying, discrimination or similar incidents. Another would be identifying a day in the school year for all the schools to celebrate multiculturalism and how we can leverage diversity to strengthen and enhance our schooling community.

• Extracurricular activities are an important element of our education system and school board can do better. We need to support initiatives, work with societies and organizations to introduce new programs that are accessible and affordable by our schools.

Othman believes that the divisiveness originated from the way the SOGI policy was introduced and implemented by school board.

“To me, from a project management background, the current school board was not successful in bringing the community together,” said Othman.

“If I were there, I would not go and force the implementation of the policy until there was a majority agreeing on it.”

Othman said he recognizes the long consultation process the school board conducted before the vote.

“Whatever they tried, they either haven’t tried it properly, or they haven’t carried out the process properly,” said Othman.

“Many people will argue that there was a long consulting time, but whether those processes to engage people were efficient or not, I think there is a question mark.”

Being the chair of the Parents’ Advisory Council (PAC) of Mitchell elementary for three years, Othman said his is also concerned about the lack of engagement on school issues.

“This has been an issue for a long time,” said Othman.

“The school board should not only listen to them, but should also reach out to them to make them engage.

“One of the things on my priority list is to put programs in place that reach out to parents and youths, to educate them about civic policies and civic engagement, on a regular basis.”

Othman said he will also focus on seismic upgrade projects for Richmond schools if elected.

For more info contact by Ph: 778-776-5322