Advocacy Summer Camp

Hello Parents.

Welcome to advocacy summer camp. You have two months to get in advocacy shape for the upcoming school year in the fall. Well….technically you don’t have two months, advocacy is a life long learning journey, but it’s more of a reflection of the sense of urgency we all feel when our kids are struggling.

If you are new to advocacy and are wondering where in the world to start, here is your summer reading.

Let’s start here. With information. The more you know, the better you will be at advocating for your child.

Start with Your District Website

  1. What are their policies from the Board of Education?
    1. Each district will have a Board section with lots of policies around suspension, restraint/seclusion, anti-ableism, assessments, etc. Not every district will have the same type of policy.
  2. What are their documents around conflict resolution path?
    1. Most districts will have documents on HOW to resolve conflicts within your school. They have a path they want you to take based on hierarchy. Know that if your concern is serious, you can jump and skip steps.
  3. What is the appeals process?
    1. Everyone can submit an appeal to the Board of Education, and it should be outlined on your schools website. You can also find it referenced in the School Act. Section 11.
  4. What is your districts code of conduct?
    1. Read the district code of conduct. Also be aware of Section 177 under the School Act. There is no appeals process if this happens to you.

District websites can be a maze. A complete maze. Keep going.

Look at Provincial Manuals and Acts

  1. The School Act
  2. The Teacher’s Act
  3. FIPPA (Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act
  4. The Erase Website
  5. Special Needs Manual
    1. In this Manual (first page) there are links to the Special Needs Order, Individual Education Plan Order, Student Progress Report Order, Support Services for Schools Order
  6. Diversity in BC Schools Policy
  7. The Multiculturalism Act
  8. The Human Rights Code
  9. DPAC Parents manuals on advocacy and policy
    1. There are LOTS of information and manuals on this site.
  10. The complete list by the Ministry of Education, including homeschooling and online learning

Legal Cases in Education

  1. Link for education cases
  2. CanLii
    1. For instructions on how to research your own using CanLii scroll to bottom of the page.
  3. Education Law

What are my External Organization options?

  1. Professional Conduct Unit / Teacher’s Regulation Branch
    1. Here is my tip sheet on how to file a complaint
  2. Ombudsperson
    1. Here is my info sheet on more details
    2. Fair Schools Report
  3. Office of Information and Privacy Commissioner
    1. When you submit a Freedom of Information request with the school. If you feel you are missing information or they have redacted too much, you can submit a complaint and they will review it and investigate.
  4. Human Rights Tribunal
    1. Human Rights Clinic (lots of information, blogs, free education workshops, services)
    2. Here is my tip sheet.

Where Can I go for Advocacy Help?

  1. Inclusion BC
  2. Family Support Institute
  3. Dyslexia BC
  4. BCEdAccess to Education – Facebook group and website
  5. Independent Service Providers for advocacy support and counselling (email me and I’ll refer you)
  6. Legal Help
  7. Dial-A-Lawyer
  8. If you want a specific Education Lawyer – email me, I can refer you.

What about the Process of Advocacy?

  1. How to deal with silence
  2. Advocacy tips
  3. When going to the media, be careful of defamation.
  4. Most school districts have a retainer with Harris & Co . Be aware that their lawyers may be reviewing your emails way earlier than you think.
  5. **** I HIGHLY recommend you get support, and I REALLY encourage people to consider joining the BCEdAccess Facebook group with over 4,500 parents who have a vast knowledge of advocacy and insight and support. You are not alone. You don’t need to do this alone.

This page was last updated on July 21, 2022.

IF anyone has any more information of manuals that they feel belong on this list, please email me and I will update it.

Teacher’s Regulation Branch (Professional Conduct Unit)

Here are some interesting stats I have looked at, see below.

For Jan to March 2022, only 14% reached consent resolution stage.

In the past year I have looked at all of the discipline reports for consent resolutions. Here is the conclusion:

Reports of sexual nature: 10

Reports of risk/harm of physical safety: 7

Reports of negative emotional experiences: 5

Of those 5 involving social/emotional experiences

1- teacher disciplined for Facebook post

1 – teacher had multiple offences of similar behaviour

1 – report made by the district

2 teachers were disciplined for showing inappropriate material in the classroom

I have so much to say on this topic, but I’ll have to save most of it for later. 😉 Just wanted to give you all some info. If you are making a complaint, it will help if you can tie it to some sort of physical risk. Also note that the Commissioner is going to be looking for a “marked departure” from the teacher’s standards. He uses the Teacher’s Act as the guide for the administrative tribunal process. He needs to believe that if it went in front of a hearing panel that they would all see a “marked departure” from the standards.

Even if your complaint doesn’t reach any consent resolution it is kept on the file of that teacher. So if there is a repeat of behaviour, it will probably help another parent who is in the position of also having to make a complaint.

Reports from the district seem to be MOST successful. If you have serious concerns about a teacher, one resolution could be that the district agrees to write a report to the TRB. That will more likely make it through than coming from a parent. Also note, that if you have serious concerns about a teacher and the superintendent doesn’t inform the TRB, that is an offence in the School Act against that Superintendent.

Board of the Rings

Once upon a time, in a far-off land, a long long time ago, there was a board that operated in a village. By the great legislative acts, this board was given a special power. The power of policy creation and maintenance.  It was a great responsibility as this was to protect all of the village’s children.  There were 7 elected TRUSTees to fulfill this great duty.

One day, on October 26th, 2021. A commoner approached these TRUSTees. She was tired from her journey. Bruised and carrying a heavy load. She requested a policy amendment to match the declarations of law from the OIPC and the BC Supreme Court to keep treasured documents belonging to her daughter and other children protected.  The TRUSTees said they would do no such things, at this time. Many days passed. Fall turned into winter, winter into spring and soon spring into summer.

The weathered traveler continued on her journey. Knocking on the doors of government officials looking for help. While they acknowledged the gap in the policy, they said “work with the board”. Each door that was knocked on was swiftly closed. While one still hopefully remains open…. the door is very hard to reach. The special Ombudsperson key sometimes needs to be used, to open the secret passage across the treacherous waters.

224 days and nights passed.

The Knight at the Administrative Tribunal ruled that the employee of the village did not foul in misplacing the notes. For the counselling notes were misplaced not due to her. A marked departure did not occur. The mystery of the mystical disappearance continues.

The traveler embodied the meaning of haste and rode through the night to reach the Guards of Privacy, where a partial discovery was revealed only after a file number was created.

An application was made to the Tribunal of Elves. Still, the wheels of time could not be undone.

With a simple fixable solution, the common traveler approached the TRUSTees many times over the course of her journey carrying the declarations of law. Nothing seemed to work. Yet still…the TRUSTees didn’t waver. The fortress stood strong. The surrounding brick wall, remained in place. The drawbridge over the moat was locked shut. The common traveler knew she would need to give up her voice, if she wanted legs.

The commoner was too common for the TRUSTees. They knew she couldn’t do anything about it, and so the powerless weathered traveler sat slumped outside their door and decided to wait and regain her strength.  For there is to be a great event coming up. An adversarial duel. A 10-day festival of truth.  She may be without a magical wand now, but change is inevitable.