For Immediate Release
September 28, 2018 (St. John’s, NL)……………The Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils (NLFSC) reinforces concerns expressed by the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers Association regarding the need for more student assistant supports in schools.
“Since the beginning of the school year we have heard from many parents who say the student assistant hours assigned to their child have been cut,” says Craig Tavenor Vice President of NLFSC. “Parents and councils are saying the safety of many of our special needs students is compromised, and teaching and learning is often interrupted.”
According to a Press Release from the NLTA (on September 28), the level of need for student assistant supports, as identified by the NL English School District, is not being met. The information was acquired, by the NLTA, through an Access to Information (ATIPPA).
“In short, the English School District determined a certain number of student assistant hours were required to address the needs in schools for the 2018-19 school year – but they allocated much less, “ reports Tavenor, “They knew what was needed, they had the numbers, but didn’t act on their own evidence and advice.”
NLFSC believes cuts to student assistant hours are having a huge impact on students and their families.
“Parents and councils have been unhappy with the lack of supports to inclusive education and Student Support Services for years,” explains Tavenor. “These supports are essential to ensuring all students have the opportunity to be an active part of the school environment.”
NLFSC encourages school councils and parents to take their concerns to the English School District, their School Board Trustee, MHA and Government.
“It’s sad that parents of special needs children have to fight for student assistant time and resources year after year,” says Tavenor, “It’s time-consuming, exhausting and emotionally draining. Unfortunately when there are budget cuts to be made, it’s the students with exceptionalities who bear the brunt. This province has a serious lack of resources for students with special needs and it is putting the entire system under serious stress.”
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