Inflexible policies keeping student out of school

NDP Education Critic Dale Kirby

NDP Education Critic Dale Kirby (MHA, St. John’s North) brought one family’s plea for education to the House of Assembly today. A young Mount Pearl man, who struggles with several conditions, was attending the District School in St. John’s. On the advice of staff there, he transferred to the T.I. Murphy Learning Centre. As soon as he did so, his transportation funding was discontinued, leaving him with no way to get to school.

More isolated than ever, he has since ceased attending classes.

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“Students with disabilities in this province still face too many roadblocks in trying to access and complete school, Kirby said in the House today. “As the Telegram newspaper recently documented, the ordeal inflicted upon the Maytum family of Mount Pearl by the Department of Education is nothing short of shameful.

“Will the Minister of Education stop forcing stressed parents to go public to get help, and come clean on how many other children he has removed from schools this year by cutting their transportation funding?”

Kirby says the family’s stress is worsened by the lack of a clear appeals process for decisions that affect students with disabilities.

“To make matters worse, we have another already stressed family being forced to bring these matters to the media instead of a mediator,” he said. “I ask the minister, why the secrecy?

“Why won’t he create the transparent appeals recommended by the ISSP-Pathways Commission over five years ago?”

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