Emotional, Impulsive and Cringeworthy. An Advocate in the Making.

There was a social reading event organized for adults. One by one they took turns and read out of their high school diaries written over 20 years ago. The audience cringes with empathy and chuckles over the shared embarrassment of their teenage selves. The drama, the emotions, the childlike perspectives of life. So mutually embarrassing.

This was a real event. People volunteered to participate in this.

As a mother attempting to seriously advocate for my children and other children in an education system void of accountability and supervision, I was left on my own. I look back at my emails written to staff full of emotion, impulsivity, and powerlessness. Pleads and negotiating to an untouchable system. Like Bambi on ice trying to find my legs.

My emails read like those embarrassing teenage diary entries. Cringeworthy.

School districts all over this province and country use the deep love we have for our children and weaponize it as a tool to hold over us and against us. They are very strategic about ignoring us and just sitting back and waiting for us to lose it. They wait for us to send those emotional emails so they can all point their fingers at us, at our wrong behaviour and weakness.

They even have legislative powers over parents written in the School Act without an appeals process. Talk about power!

What happens reminds me of what happens with many of our kids. They are emotionally dysregulated, in survival mode, impulsive, and they do something that they feel embarrassed about and regret later. Everyone points fingers at how wrong this child is behaving. No one looks at the pond. No one examines the trigger. Kids don’t go to school in a silo. They are surrounded by other children, who either intentionally or unintentionally are triggering. Don’t even get me started on the bullies who purposefully find it entertaining to poke the kids who are responsive for pure amusement.  

You should read all my emotional impulsive reactive emails I have sent to the school district, the Ministry of Education, to the Teacher’s Regulation Branch and to Ombudsperson. You won’t feel so alone.  You’d shrink in your chair along with me.

Districts poke the bear with parents. They will use silence and delay to create the pond. They will use their power. They will lie and gaslight you. Then they’ll just sit back and watch the show. Any emotional move from a parent and the spotlight is on you.

Many parents, justifiably shrink and move away. Embarrassed. Ashamed. Feeling little. Powerless.

When advocating for your kids, you need to be willing to fall flat on your face and be vulnerable, and yet get back up again and keep going. Just like our kids are always on the stage of over examination and judgement of every move they make, so are we. Solidarity little ones. Us too.

I am NOT shrinking from those emails. I OWN my impulsivity and emotional throw up.

I have figured out the system.

Those emails feel like a lifetime ago.

I wear them like a badge of honor. They are evidence of how far I have come. The skills I have learned. The knowledge I have gained. My understandings evolving as I begin to understand the rules of the game. They are part of my story. My beginning. My attempts. My learning.

I will wear those emails and show them to anyone.

You want to know why????

They are the secret door that leads us all to the pond. I am not just a frog jumping chaotically from pad to pad. I am navigating through an electrified pond.

You want to start questioning me and victim blaming me? Let’s do that. Let’s talk about all of it. Let’s pick through every little sentence and examine every little word. I am not shrinking into the dark. I will boldly walk straight into the spotlight with all those emails pinned to my clothes.

I am human.

I am a mother and I love my children.

My love for them is not my weakness. It is my strength.

Just try me.

Why is Documentation so Important?

Because you need to take your allegations out of the realm of conjecture. Here is a case example below from the BC Human Rights Tribunal.

N obo S v. T and a School District, 2006 BCHRT 546 (CanLII)

[55]           In this case, N states that she is a single parent and has several serious medical conditions, and that, because of this, she has been unfairly treated by the respondents.  As examples of the unfair treatment, she states that the respondents have failed to return phone calls, delayed letters, failed to provide information in a timely manner, and did not properly investigate her concerns relating to her son.  However, she does not include details of any statements or actions on the part of the respondents which would support such a conclusion.  She states only that she “believes” that such a connection exists: that she “believes” that the respondents think they can make her go away by exhausting her; that she “believes” that if she had a partner, her child would have equal treatment; and that she “believes” that she would be treated with more respect if she were married, healthy and had financial resources.   In other words, nothing in the complaint takes the allegations out of the realm of conjecture, as the facts alleged in the complaint do not support a nexus between N’s marital status and disability and her alleged unfair treatment by the respondents. 

[56]           As a result of the above, I dismiss N’s complaint pursuant to s. 27(1)(b) of the Code.

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Allegations are what you are claiming to be true. Until they are proven in a hearing and a decision is complete by a tribunal member, until then, they are nothing more than allegations. Be careful about defamation on social media.

So, parents/guardians and loved ones of disabled children in the education system, what does this mean?

It means we need to be documenting EVERYTHING.

Keeping ALL emails, even the good ones.

Logging calls and dates, with who and what was discussed.

Follow up by email on phone calls to outline what was discussed and action steps agreed upon.

Keeping a timeline of events

Taking photos (if your child has been injured)

When you child tells you what happened at school, take your own notes and write it down. Email your notes to someone you trust to log the date, time and details.

Email other parents and ask them what they know, and make sure they respond in the email and not the phone. The Human Rights Tribunal can take years. People’s memories will change over time, so it’s really important to get the documented information at that time.

If necessary for your own mental health, taking yourself and your child for counselling, (Remember from the blog 10 Most shocking Education Advocacy Discoveries #3) If the counsellor is connected to the government services, they wont be able to testify at a hearing. You need an outside counsellor.)

An added suggestion by Dyslexia BC @DyslexiaBC on Facebook is to bring someone with you to all of your IEP meetings. (That person can take notes, and also be a witness.)

You need to be thinking about collecting evidence. Things that can be used as evidence in a hearing are documents, emails, doctors letters, counselling letters, counselling invoices, videos, photos, media posts, expert evidence, other parents witness statements/emails, voice recordings from meetings, anything that is relevant. Connected. Here is what the Human Rights Tribunal determines to be evidence.

In the same thread of thought, be careful what you offer up in your emails and conversations to the school district. They are also collecting evidence on you.

I will leave you with this case example below.

A and B obo Infant A v. School District C (No. 5), 2018 BCHRT 25 (CanLII)

A.   The Mother

[40]           Overall, I have found the Mother to be sincere in her testimony. She cares about her Child and became emotional when describing his feelings. However, I do not find her evidence reliable. I find her testimony not to be in “harmony with the preponderance of the probabilities which a practical and informed person would readily recognize as reasonable in that place and in those conditions”. The weight, and thus reliability, of the Mother’s evidence was affected by the fact that her testimony was almost entirely based on hearsay and double hearsay. The Mother was not a witness to most of the interactions she described.

[41]           The Tribunal may admit any evidence that it considers necessary and appropriate, whether or not the evidence is admissible in a court of law: Code, s. 27.2. Silver Campsites Ltd. v. James2013 BCCA 292 at para. 39. I considered the Mother’s hearsay testimony to be necessary and appropriate because it directly addressed the critical issues in the complaint and there were no other witnesses available to present it. The Father and Child did not testify on these issues. I assessed the Mother’s hearsay evidence on a point-by-point basis, with the objective of ensuring that I could make necessary findings of fact based on reliable evidence: Radek v. Henderson Development (Canada) and Securiguard Services (No. 3), 2005 BCHRT 302 [Radek]. I have considered the following in determining the weight to give to hearsay evidence:

I have considered in each instance the reliability of the evidence, the necessity for its introduction as hearsay rather than first-hand evidence, the probative value of the evidence, and whether the other parties would be unfairly prejudiced or otherwise disadvantaged through my reliance on it. (para. 54)

[42]           I have assigned relatively little weight to the Mother’s evidence where it conflicted with the first-hand accounts given by the School Counsellor, Principal, Vice Principal, and Teachers H, M, and G. I have found the Mother’s hearsay evidence considerably less reliable than the direct evidence of reliable witnesses, where there is a conflict.

[43]           The Mother acknowledged that she was probably not present for most of the incidents at school that involved her Child. At times, she had a hard time recalling events. For example, the Mother’s testimony on the psychoeducational assessment of her son was wrong by one year. She acknowledged that she was “out a year”. The Mother testified that there is no reason to dispute the emails that were authored by her at the time. The Mother testified “that is what I wrote at that time”.

[44]           During cross-examination, the Mother responded to several questions regarding her testimony about her Child’s version of events by saying that she did not know or was not there. She acknowledged that most of her knowledge of the incidents came through her Child. I find that her son was more likely than not motivated to minimize his involvement in some incidents when reporting them to his Parents, so as to avoid discipline. For example, the Mother described disciplining the Child in relation to an incident where he swore at the Principal. She described their punishment as “Draconian”. (In retrospect, the Mother regretted using that word in her letter). As another example, regarding the November 2016 Incident, the Child only reported to his Parents that he grabbed another student by the collar, whereas I find, as a fact, that the Child choked a student, pushed him over a railing, and spat in his face.

[45]           The Mother’s credibility was also impacted by her acrimonious relationship with most of the Respondent witnesses. I have considered her contemporaneous correspondence in assessing credibility because it speaks to hear capacity to perceive, recollect, and communicate facts objectively. Together with her husband, the Mother repeatedly sent letters and other communications attacking the character of most of the Respondent witnesses. For example, the Parents wrote letters about the Superintendent to the federal government, provincial government, board of education, RCMP, politicians and others. When confronted with this correspondence, the Mother minimized the tenor of her communications and its effect on the Respondent witnesses. The Mother maintained that she and her husband treated staff respectfully.

[46]           The Mother also provided inconsistent testimony. For example, the Mother testified that she did not accuse Teacher G of racism. When confronted during cross-examination, the Mother acknowledged accusing Teacher G of favouring one child over the other, and the other child not necessarily being black. The Mother ultimately acknowledged accusing Teacher G of racism. She explained finding it “very frustrating” when Teacher G prejudged her son and did not follow guidelines.

Understanding the Duty to Accommodate

In the Human Rights Code section (8), there is the Duty to Accommodate.

There are also layers under the umbrella of the duty to accommodate. There is a process that must be completed in order to obtain those accommodations. Since, this site is focused on disability rights and education focused, for this page I will be using disability as the example. First, the service provider must have proof that someone is disabled.

From the Human Rights Clinic Blog, Stress, Anxiety and the Duty to Accommodate, they explain…

“However, she did not provide any medical information that said she had a mental disability.

The Tribunal dismissed Ms. Matheson’s complaint, stating that “an essential element of a complaint of discrimination in employment on the basis of mental disability is proof that the complainant either had a mental disability… or was perceived to be mentally disabled by the employer.”

Here is Ms. Matheson’s case.

Which now leads us to the Duty to Inquire

Duty to Inquire

Here is link to more information and the above picture.

Duty to Consult

A great case that outlines the duties to consult by schools is the Hewko v. B.C., 2006 BCSC 1638 (CanLII)

There are many great details in this case, here are a couple that speak to me regarding the duty to consult.

AND also

Duty to Co-operate

Here is the link for the source below

Am I missing any??

If anyone knows of any more “Duty to…..” established in human rights case law, please let me know. I am happy to add to the list of links and information so we parents, can learn about our children’s rights and the process.

What You Need to Know About the Teacher’s Regulation Branch -Decision Letters (Professional Conduct Unit)

  1. The decision from the Commissioner if final and binding. There is nothing you can do to change it no matter how wrong you think it may be.
  2. You have two options after you receive the decision letter. You can either apply for a Judicial Review through the BC Supreme Court or file a complaint with Ombudsperson.
  3. For a Judicial Review there are a few things to note. As noted in this document from the BC Supreme Court on Judicial Reviews.

Page 3:

This is a look at whether the Commissioner errored in law and how it was applied. Not about the actual decision.

A Human Rights Lawyer told me that Judicial reviews are very risky as very rarely do the complainants win. The respondents can and will apply for costs to have their legal fees paid for. You as the parent will then need to pay. Legal fees can be tens of thousands of dollars.

I HIGHLY encourage parents/guardians who are considering this route to consult with a lawyer. The $500 you spend on a consultation fee may save you thousands of dollars in the end.

4. Next option is Ombudsperson BC. The chances of them conducting a review are very slim. Please email me if you would like more details or tips or how to get your case at least to an investigator. Ombudsperson will also not look at the decision, but looks at the process. They track every attempt at a complaint, so even it yours doesn’t make it to an investigator, your intake form alone is helping. Your arguments to them are going to need to be grounded in administrative fairness.

I have asked the Ombudsperson separate the TRB from the Ministry of Education in their annual data reports, so we can track how many people are filing complaints against the TRB, as they refused to disclose this information in a Freedom of Information request. They seemed receptive to the idea, so I’ll be watching their annual report coming out this to year to see if my request was accepted. If not, I’ll follow up.

5. Right now, if someone asked me what they could do with decision letters that they know are not right. I would tell them, to please consider filing with Ombudsperson and go through the process, even if the chances of success are slim. We need to let them know that we are not satisfied with the TRB and Ombudsperson determines what needs are out there, based on whether people are filing complaints or not. So, your voice on this does matter.

Please consider providing feedback to the Ministry of Education.

Also, please consider contacting me. There is a wider much larger project that I am working on, and I would love to hear other people’s stories.

6. Getting your complaint to a consent resolution is slim. Right now the most recent stats from the Commissioner’s office reveals that from April – June, only 7% made it to a consent resolution.

It sounds like a dead end. What’s the point? Here it is. When we file complaints they stay on the certificate holder’s record. If there is more than one complaint and they build, the chance of success increase. You are basically filing to help out the next parent or the next child. And, who knows…maybe this isn’t the first time that someone has filed a complaint and yours will actually be successful.

If we say nothing and don’t speak up, it helps no one. It’s like it never even happened. Don’t get your hopes up. Manage expectations, but file with the TRB, and then file with Ombudsperson. Oh and then call me and blab all about it. I’ll make your effort worth it. You’ll be part of a larger story. 😉

Speaking Up BC – One Year Anniversary

So….I am a little chatty…about education and about disability.

I want to send out a heartfelt thank you to ALL of the people who have encouraged me and connected with my writing. Whether you agree or disagree with my perspective, it’s an honor to take up some space in your thought process. I will admit, some of my blogs are a little…”spicy”. So many wonderful people have reached out. For those who find my website organically and are asking questions about your own advocacy journey, it fills my heart to be able to pass along information I have learnt along the way. We are not alone.

This website went from solely being shared through BCEd Access’s social media Facebook group and over the year it has blossomed. People are finding this website, sharing it with others, and now I get to refer them to BCEd Access. So many wonderful friendships have grown over this past year. My heart is full.

In addition to my pages on this website where my learning is all stored…well the stuff I can share publicly 😉 , here is a list of the blogs July 2021-July 2022. From my heart to yours. Disability rights and public education are worth fighting for. We may not have created this system, but if we are just observers and not active participants, then we are certainly maintaining it. Every little step, no matter how small, all makes a ripple effect. Everything builds. There are so many advocates in the system, past, present and upcoming future. We are all connected by the invisible string.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’ – Margaret Mead

From the beginning, starting in July 2022

Expectations of Parents Behaviour: Why are so many parents losing their shit?

The Unpredictability of Public Education

The Impending Education Tsunami

Systemic Impacts of Scarcity in Education

Context and Meaning

IEP Meetings in Public Education

Twinkie Theory

A Call for Fair Process

Groupthink…Does it Exist in Schools and on Boards of Education?

Rejection. Our Starting Point.

Submission for Budget Consultation. 2022

August 2021

Sex Education, Sexual Health and Disability

The Non-Death Loss for Parents of Disabled Children, All over this Province

Accessing Education

September 2021

Are Lawsuits the only Chance Parents have in Shaping the Education System?

You are Just not Disabled…Yet

…and Then You Take the House

Am I Disabled Enough?

October 2021

Do You Trust Me?

I Give Myself Permission

The Scary Parent

Missing Counselling Notes

December 2021

Let’s Talk Language

Education Case Law

Shame and Disability

Rally Speech

Love Ableism, xoxo

January 2022

Letter to SFU

The Dance of Advocacy and Forgiveness

February 2022

Swimming Upstream in the Education System

Human Rights – Lunch and Learn

March 2022

Top 10 Shocking Education Advocacy Discoveries

April 2022

What does Ableism Look Like in Schools? It Looks Like This?

Why a Diagnosis?

Case Decisions and Reports Connected to Education

Ableism Policy – Why Should We Care?

Groundbreaking BC HRT – Accepts Parent Added on Child’s HR Complaint

The State of Human Rights Violations in BC

May 2022

Ministry of Education & Wilful Blindness

Freedom of Information Request Denied – Ombudsperson

Defamation. You said What?

June 2022

Board of the Rings

Teacher’s Regulation Branch (Professional Conduct Unit)

Keeping the Hope Alive

Advocacy Summer Camp

July 2022

Speaking Up BC – One Year Anniversary

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.

Keeping the Hope Alive

Advocacy can feel like your trying to build a sand castle in the midst of a sandstorm. I sometimes stop, take a step back, and admire the ridiculousness of my efforts. Some people become depressed over time. They lose hope. They get overwhelmed. They hit the burnout wall. Yup, Yup and Yup for all of it! Been there, and you know what….I’ll be in those places again. Temporarily, hopefully. It’s just part of the process. Everything is a cycle. Winter, spring, summer and fall. We season through and cycle through the many emotions.

But here is the good news.

It is impossible for human systems to never change. Never ever ever will things always stay the same.

Systems can feel like unformidable fortresses. They are a tough nut to crack, I’ll give you that.

Some may think, oh what is the point of trying it’s not going to get any better. Well, you are right in some regards, it could get A LOT worse.

The beauty of human systems is that they are fluid. People change. We do think differently, we do learn, we do bend. Change is always a very slow process and so it often doesn’t get recognized until we compare things to 20 years, 60 years, or 120 years ago. Laws change, expectations change, and what we hope for changes.

Everything that we do, what we advocate for, it all matters. It all makes a difference. The small advances do build. Most of the time, we will never really appreciate or are aware of the true impacts of our efforts. In our pursuit of equality we can pause, we can take breaks, we can heal, we can pivot our efforts and change our approaches or learnings. We can do all sorts of things….we just can’t ever give up.

#advocacy

Ministry of Education & WILFUL BLINDNESS??

Can the Attorney General intervene with the Ministry of Education over Wilful Blindness??

Legal term – Wilful Blindness: “The Supreme Court of Canada held that wilful blindness is best described as “deliberate ignorance” and emphasized that it should be treated as a state of mind that is equivalent to actual knowledge.” & “Wilful blindness…involves no departure from the subjective inquiry into the accused’s state of mind which must be undertaken to establish an aider or abettor’s knowledge.” (Verdon-Jones S, 2020, p.98)

  1. Deliberate Ignorance of Case Law Regarding Counselling Notes

I emailed the Ministry of Education and their Legislation department on October 27th, 2021 and informed them of a gap in their legislation connected to counselling notes, and an order from the OIPC (Office of Information Privacy Commissioner) and the upheld decision of such an order by the BC Supreme Court.

I have blogged about it.

The Ministry of Education ignored my multiple emails and my attempts at communication. I filed an Ombudsperson complaint in early December, which forced them to communicate with me and on March 7th, 2022 we finally had a conversation. They acknowledged the gap in the system.  They have been aware for 7 months and so far…I haven’t seen or heard of any changes. The Board of Education has also been aware since October 26th, 2021 and I have not seen or know about any attempts at updating policy to reflect case law, which the Ministry of Education states is their responsibility.  They are also ignoring my emails regarding this topic.

  • Deliberate Ignorance of Human Rights Violations across the Province

Due to a Freedom of Information request and a phone call with the finance department it was revealed that the Ministry of Education isn’t tracking human rights violation financial data that are occurring across the province. The Freedom of Information on the financial implications of such complaints had to come from the Ministry of Finance. Talk about deliberate ignorance.  I have also written a blog about this topic.

  • Deliberate Ignorance in the Professional Conduct Unit department. (Formerly – Teacher’s Regulation Branch)

I have emailed the Ministry of Education, the Executive Director of the TRB and the Commissioner. I have raised serious issues regarding their process and their legislation and the connection with Ombudsperson. They refuse to respond or discuss these issues. I am not telling them their welcome mat is crooked, I am telling them their house is on fire. They undemocratically responded by closing the door. There will be an upcoming blog about this. It’s been over a year and processes are still occurring with Ombudsperson regarding these issues. More to come about this later. Last year I blogged about a call for fair process. Since then, the story gets deeper. For those who need some inside tips on the process, here you go.

  • Deliberate Ignorance of Educational Malpractice

When I presented the Ministry of Education with a document containing evidence of my allegations of educational malpractice, they referred me to Ombudsperson and the Teacher’s Regulation Branch. Both due to systemic and legislative reasons were dead ends. When I went back to them, they apologized and said there was nothing they could do. It turns out there are no avenues for accountability in the education system regarding educational malpractice. Nothing.

What are we supposed to do when we have a government body refusing to uphold case law, deliberating ignoring human rights violations, closing the door of any conversation related to systemic oppression, and having no accountability system for allegations of malpractice?

Anyone have any ideas?????

I’d love to hear them.

Seriously.

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References

Verdon-Jones, Simon N. (2020). Criminal law in Canada: Cases, questions, and the code. (7th edition). Top Hat.

Freedom of Information Request Denied – Ombudsperson

Friday May 20th, I submitted a Freedom of Information request to Ombudsperson BC requesting the following information.

“I would like data of the past 10 years, (May 2012- May 2022) of how many parents have submitted complaints with the Teacher’s Regulation Branch, and how many of those complaints were investigated by an investigator. Please separate the data by year.”

Today, May 25th my request was denied. In a letter from the Deputy of Ombudsperson it was explained to me that FIPPA has very limited access to Ombudsperson due to that they are an office of the Legislature and I can only access information they post publicly. They recommended I look at their annual reports.

SO……

I went through all of their authority statistics reports. I can’t get any information specific on the Professional Conduct Unit (formerly Teacher’s Regulation Branch), only under the Ministry of Education. Based on the information in their authority statistic reports, I have created a graph for easy consumption.

This graph depicts the number of files Ombudsperson opened connected to the Ministry of Education from 2011-March2011. Data for this previous year will be posted on the Ombudsperson website in a month or two.

Here is a table version of the same data.

I find their annual reports and authority statistics reports to be very interesting. I highly encourage people who are interested in human systems, data and social justice to take a look.

For each file that was opened, you need to be so frustrated with your situation that you are filing a complaint with Ombudsperson, and be willing to wait months for something to be resolved…or not.

I have recently submitted an FOI request through the Ministry of Education requesting very similar and more detailed information. I will keep you all posted.

Also, keep in mind the the Ministry of Education is not tracking any Human Rights Complaint data. As I have blogged about previously, through another FOI request result.

What Does Ableism Look Like in Schools? It Looks Like This!

When a teacher daily allows a student with a learning disability to fail their class, but does not even lift a finger to inform the case manager or parent, that is ableism and its discrimination. Disabled children failing, falling behind and being excluded without accommodations have become the normality of the education system. It’s so common, it is woven into the fabrics of the system.

They just invisibly slip through the cracks, while a detailed IEP sits in a student database system collecting digital dust.

The fact that the Ministry of Education intentionally doesn’t even track information regarding the human rights violations that are occurring across the province is an example of ableism. Disability issues don’t affect them, so they have the privilege to ignore it. Want to know how to systemically keep a marginalized group of people oppressed? Keep them off your radar to begin with. OH…and by the way…the group the people the Ministry of Education are intentionally oppressing, are disabled CHILDREN and their family unit.

What is even more profound is that these teachers who are discriminating are caring people. They love teaching and are inspired by the creations of their students. We think ableist teachers are lurking somewhere in the dark with DON’T CARE tattooed on them, when in fact that simply isn’t the case. When children are ignored and neglected in the education system by good teachers, that is obvious discrimination at its finest. The “other” students get their gifts, and the disabled students get left alone, left behind, and just….left.  There are lovely people out there in the world completely unaware of their own biases and the normality of disabled children failing, just blends in with the wall paper.  It’s not even a big thing. It’s just something that happens. Shrug.

This is very common in the education system, and the ableism these kids experience is then internalized, becomes part of their self-concept, self-esteem and identity. Want to know why kids turn to drugs and crime? Failure in the education system has been proven to be foundational in many of the peer reviewed journal articles. IT’s not that we do not know. It’s not that more studies are need to be done. We have all the information. Government is just biased, ableist and discriminatory and this shows in their government run and funded education system. It oozes out of the pores of all 60 school districts. It’s not obvious to the people who are not impacted by it. You need to look at the system and not just focus on what is there, but what is missing. Who is missing?

We need to flip this education system upside down and inside out. The future of their lives and our society depends on it.

Ministry of Education- It is time for anti-ableism leadership from your government.

Are we on your radar? Or will we continually be swept under the rug?