Com­mu­nity out­rage over Knowl­ton Academy theft

Mes­sage to thieves: Don’t mess with the kids

Sherbrooke Record - - BROME COUNTY NEWS - By Ann David­son

Know­ing how im­por­tant the Green­house and Gar­den Project at Knowl­ton Academy has be­come to the en­tire com­mu­nity, Kas­san­dra Julien Charby and her hus­band Christo­pher gen­er­ously jumped in to re­place the 1,000-litre cis­tern that was stolen from the back­yard of the school last week.

The Knowl­ton com­mu­nity has a strong mes­sage to those who had the au­dac­ity to steel a 1,000-litre cis­tern hold­ing wa­ter from Knowl­ton Academy’s gar­den last week. The out­cry of

dis­tain by count­less in­di­vid­u­als within the area who are fol­low­ing the progress of his in­clu­sive project spread like wild­fire. And within 24 hours not only had some­one come up with a replica of the stolen prop­erty, but another was of­fered as well.

The gar­den project that has been grow­ing and flour­ish­ing since 2016 at Knowl­ton Academy has been em­braced by ev­ery­one in the com­mu­nity who learns about it. It has be­come a plat­form for ap­plied learn­ing that is sym­bi­otic to the cul­ture of the ru­ral com­mu­nity that is strongly sus­tained by agro and eco-tourism. In­clu­sive to all stu­dents, their fam­i­lies, and the wide com­mu­nity, it has be­come the cen­tre of cre­ativ­ity, and en­thu­si­as­tic giv­ing and shar­ing. When word from one of the co­or­di­na­tors of the project, Jen­nifer Rug­gins-muir, that there had been a theft peo­ple were aghast that some­one would dare to steal from young chil­dren and in­con­ve­nience the nu­mer­ous vol­un­teers who have been sup­port­ing the project.

Rug­gins-muir has a large fol­low­ing of friends on her Face­book net­work be­cause she clev­erly, frankly, and of­ten hu­mourously re­ports her day-to-day life ex­pe­ri­ence with fam­ily and com­mu­nity.

She also uses it as a plat­form to keep the com­mu­nity up to date with the nu­mer­ous projects and ac­tiv­i­ties re­lated to the school’s Green­house and Gar­den Project. On Oc­to­ber 23 Rug­gins-muir posted her shock over find­ing that when she had gone to the school in the late af­ter­noon that day to check on the peren­ni­als that had been do­nated for the “fairy gar­den,” that they needed wa­ter­ing. “So I walked up the hill to turn on the hose and dis­cov­ered one of our two wa­ter tanks had gone and the hose sliced in half! It takes a spe­cial kind of piece of (ex­ple­tive) to steal from a chil­dren’s gar­den.” She went on to sur­mise that this could not have been the act of sim­ply van­dals be­cause the tank holds a thou­sand litres of wa­ter and is huge. “It would have had to be drained then loaded by at least 2 peo­ple onto a pickup truck.” Her de­duc­tion was that the theft had to be cal­cu­lated and needed at least a half hour to make it hap­pen.

“It is bad enough to wreck or ruin an adult en­deav­our. This stu­dent gar­den is a teach­ing and learn­ing tool. Not fair to pick on chil­dren,” bleated Carol Mur­ray. “What is wrong with the peo­ple se­ri­ously! Why would any­one do this to the kids and all the vol­un­teers who have worked so hard to make it hap­pen?” ques­tioned Melissa El­ston.

Af­ter post­ing Mon­day about the school gar­den wa­ter tank be­ing stolen Rug­gins-muir was con­tacted by Kas­san­dra Julien Charby and her hus­band Christo­pher, who de­liv­ered a new one to­day. “And Tasha-marie Chub­byy and her part­ner Justin Jac­ques who have one for us as well. So one tank was stolen but two new ones were given to us. The sec­ond tank needed pick­ing up and it was Jes­sica Fleury who jumped in to say that the pick up had been taken care of.

JEN­NIFER RUG­GINS-MUIR

DIANNE LABBÉE

Dianne Labbée of Fos­ter wonders if her woods suf­fered a mi­cro-burst with so many trees that have been up­rooted. See more pho­tos on page 8.

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