As a police officer, Nicole Buchanan has spent time in schools, educating kids about public safety.
Since her oldest daughter is now in kindergarten, the married mother-of-two wants to take on a larger role in education by running for a trustee position on the Red Deer Public School Board.
“Education is something that’s always been important to me,” said Buchanan, who chairs the parent council at her daughter’s school.
She noted many students spend seven or eight hours a day away from home.
“School is such a huge influence on their upbringing. As a parent, I feel it’s extremely important that I know what’s going on with my child.”
Buchanan believes in strong communications between schools and home, so everyone is aware of “incidents” that arise in the classroom or playground. “Bullying is something I take very seriously.”
While she supports open discourse, Buchanan also feels every child should feel safe and accepted in the classroom. She’s received emails from parents who feel they should be notified if their children join gay-straight alliances at school.
“Being a police officer, I’ve been sent to several hate incidents,” said Buchanan. While it usually makes sense to inform parents of what’s happened, in a few cases, the victim has been “extremely sensitive” about this information being passed on to family members — and for good reason.
Having a mandatory disclosure policy about school club membership would mean some students wouldn’t seek the support they badly need — and she noted children with gender issues have high suicide rates.
All children should have the resources they need to succeed, added Buchanan, who believes dollars should be spent in the classroom, and for school maintenance.
The eldest daughter of incumbent Red Deer city councillor Buck Buchanan has lived across Canada, but feels Red Deer is her home. That’s why she’s chosen to raise her family here, although it means commuting to her job with the Calgary Police Service.