Education chief cancels surgeries because of school protests

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A COUNCILLOR says he has been forced to cancel his public surgeries because they have been “hijacked” by school protestors.

Councillor Eric Gotts, convener of East Dunbartonshire Council’s education committee, said he has had to re-think how he keeps in contact with local people “who want help rather than to use councillors’ surgeries to stage protests”.

Parents are up-in-arms over proposals to merge several schools across the district and many ‘Save Our School’ groups have been formed.

Councillor Gotts admitted that he won’t hold surgeries until “things calm down”.

In a statement, he said: “It is very regrettable that the tactics employed by some people have forced me to reconsider how I operate in the interests of my constituents.

“Surgeries are an important means of hearing about the individual problems of local people with a view to helping them.

“Throughout January councillors’ surgeries have been hijacked by individuals, some of them not local constituents, who want to protest over the schools issue. Of course, this is an important issue and I am happy to discuss it on a one-to-one basis or at organised meetings.

“Many of these individuals have already had plenty of opportunity to communicate with their councillors in other ways by emailing or writing to them, or attending parent council meetings, as well as making their views known through the public questionnaire as part of the informal consultation process.”

He added: “I have therefore had to re-think how I keep in contact with local people who want help rather than to use councillors’ surgeries to stage protests.

“I recently put up posters to that effect in the usual locations, which advertise these arrangements, as I am determined to serve local people as best as I can.”

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