A Call for Fair Process

Sent via Email – Friday July 23rd, 2021 (Edited – number of complaints removed for blog)

Dear Commissioner,

As a parent who submitted X TRB complaints last July 2020, and now X new complaints related to the conduct of the certificate holders providing false/misleading information during the TRB process, I am urging you to please review the process for the Teacher’s Regulation Branch through the lens of fairness for parents and students.

Change requests:

  1. Provide more details and transparency to the process on the website and through written communication.
    1. On the complaint form, explain if they need more space than what is given in the box, that they can submit an attachment.
    2. Inform parents that if they become aware of new evidence, they may submit it and when the last date of submission is in their acceptance letter.
    3. Explain that if they experience any retaliation due to their complaint, that they can submit a separate complaint for the conduct of the retaliation in their acceptance letter or have this written on the complaint form at end when it explains that the teacher will be aware of their name and attachments.
    4. Explain in the decision letter that if they feel that the certificate holders provided false information or withheld any information to mislead the Commissioner that they feel impacted the final decision, they can submit a separate complaint for that specifically.
    5. On the statics page, show how many parents’ complaints vs. district reports made it to the consent resolution stage or investigation stages.
    6. The website is a maze of information and is confusing to navigate through. I like the videos, but they are hidden in the website. There is no clear pathway to navigate through the information. I am suggesting modifications to the website to make it more accessible for parents. 
  1. After the initial review or investigation is complete with the certificate holder, the Commissioner should be allowed to contact the parents to clarify any information the Commissioner is missing, or is unclear about.  That should include clarifying information or perceptions with the children or parents. There should be no assumptions made or have any unanswered questions from the Commissioner in the decision letters. Parents should be able to see initial findings from the Commissioner and be given the chance to offer any other information or evidence that is relevant before the final decision is made.  We have no idea how the lawyers are going to take the situations and spin them.  Myself and many parents have felt that their words were manipulated and false information or incorrect information was in their decision letter without an opportunity to clarify. 
  1. The process should be viewed through the lens of parents who may have disabilities themselves, be part of a vulnerable group, and that this experience is stressful. Follow-up after the initial decision is therefore crucial to the fairness process.  When you read a decision letter that has false information and there is no chance to be heard after that, parents feel re-victimized all over again. The TRB process has been traumatic to parents, compounding the stress they have already experienced within their school district. Students will also feel victimized if they feel that they were not believed.  Parents feel they are taking a big risk in filing these complaints, and many do not follow this process for fear of retaliation or lack of trust in systems.  

Please feel free to contact me to discuss or clarify any of these change requests. I am more than willing to elaborate and explain any of this further.

Please confirm that you have received my letter.  Please take all the time you need to reflect on my requests.  I appreciate that you have a tight schedule, I would appreciate an approximate timeline of when you are able to respond.

Kind Regards,

Kim Block
CC: Ministry of Education, Ombudsperson

EDIT: Added in a second email after feedback from another parent. I completely agree with their point.

“I would request that any of the certificate holder’s evidence that is referenced in the Commissioners decision letter needs to be provided to the complainant. A parent has a right to any and all information that pertains to their child that the school district is in possession of and there is no grounds for why this information is being withheld. It is a one sided process with no transparency when you get a decision letter that continuously references the certificate holders evidence but then does not outline what that evidence was and when the evidence is not provided for referencing. The Commissioner should be held accountable to demonstrate how he came to his conclusions and exactly how he substantiated his findings. Otherwise this makes it very difficult to appeal on any level but specifically to the Supreme Court within 60 days. If you have to use FOI to obtain the information there is no way to meet this.” – PARENT

(For the readers of this blog, I would just like to make it clear that I never experienced any retaliation from filing the TRB complaints and that request is on behalf of other parents who did experience retaliation.)