A Year in Review

The year of 2022 started off with my blog The Dance of Advocacy and Forgiveness, which gives me a chuckle given the current circumstances my year is ending in. I am getting a lot of practice.

This year has been a year of discovery and finding out just how far the rabbit hole to Wonderland goes.

In 2022 I found out my Top 10 Shocking Advocacy Discoveries, and I can tell you that this year coming up will require an update. Swimming upstream in education is important.

Some exciting learnings also happened. The groundbreaking  case showed the Human Rights Tribunal accepting a parent attached to their child’s education discrimination complaint. That possibility is eye-opening and will pave the way for more parents.  I definitely have a much better understanding of the Duty to Accommodate and why Documentation and Diagnosis are so important on the legal fronts. The struggles of the system have also been revealed to me. I’ll be keeping an eye on for any upcoming cases to share.

Didn’t wish I had such an example of ableism in education to report on, and can say this experience has repeated itself again. Different teacher, same outcome. This similar behaviour has happened four times so far.

I have several advocacy projects still open, active and ongoing involving multiple government departments. Change is slow. It requires a lot of patience and persistence. I have been forever changed by everything I have experienced in the last 3+ years. I am not the same person.  Well….I am but, but just amplified. 😉 It was all buried, but it’s all coming out now.

One of the healing experiences for me has been this website and blog. The families who reach out to me due to this website have been eye-opening, healing, and motivating all at once. To all the parents/guardians out there who are advocating to try and make it easier and less heavy for someone else, I see you. So many of us are out there. Each trying our best at our own puzzle piece.

Systems always change over time. We may think we are getting nowhere, but there is always a ripple effect even if we don’t directly see it. People may think that nothing will ever change. But that is not true. Things could always get worse.  Good people need to speak up. Everyone else who has advocated before us needs their work continued. I am continually gaining strength and inspiration from all the parents who have taken their human rights cases to hearings across Canada. You never know how you effect people. Doing the right thing isn’t necessarily easy. There are a lot of advocates working in and out of the different systems. So much to be grateful for and learn from.

This year has been quite a year… a part of me doesn’t even want to wonder what this new year will bring. I can feel that it’s going to be a whopper. But you know what…. I am ready.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

The Underground World of Human Rights Complaints in Education

By systemic design, human rights complaints in education are underground. A hidden world, away from prying eyes and transparent investigation. This is not for privacy and confidentiality.

  1. Back in the day, with focused education-reporters, this article was written about the expense of lawyers fees for Harris and Co. Vancouver Sun – School districts and the money spent on Harris & Co. What is NOT mentioned in this article is that the money for Harris & Co. also covers human rights complaints filed by parents on behalf of their children.
  2. On the Harris & Co. website, they list the services they offer to school districts. What is explicitly missing, is that they defend human rights complaints, both by employees and by parents. The words “human rights” are missing. Search the database of the Human Rights Tribunal, you will see the cases with the names of the lawyers that link back to their law firm.
  3. On the Human Rights Tribunal website, find me where parents can get information about discrimination related to education services? Last year, I emailed them informing that information specific to education is badly needed. I received no response. No updates on the website have been made. I have had to do my own research and write blogs like this: Understanding the Duty to Accommodate, Why is documentation so important, and create a Human Rights Tribunal and an Education Law page to help other parents understand their rights. I am asking this honestly, for anyone reading this, please send me any links that you can on human rights and education in BC. I’d love to know where this information is posted. If you want to find info on human rights in BC in education the only place to look is case law. So I created my case page. (Which actually should be updated with all of my newest finds.) I swear, I need 26 hours in a day.
  4. Meanwhile in Ontario the Human Rights Tribunal has a Special Education Tribunal, and an Ombudsperson branch focused on Education. Don’t even get me started talking about the Teacher’s Regulation Branch here in BC. That’s a whole other story still in progress.
  5. The Ministry of Education doesn’t even track human rights complaints. Evidence – the state of human rights complaints in BC. No one is even paying attention to all of this. No oversight. Nothing. No monitoring. No accountability. Yup. Read that again.
  6. We already know that the obvious form of exclusion happens from BCEd’s exclusion tracker. We rarely see articles about education human rights complaints in the news. Surrey School District. Parents need to “out” their child. Data with anonymity specific to education isn’t available. Discrimination in school systems is so wide spread. It’s just been accepted as part of the daily fabric of how the education system functions and parents are left to advocate, taking up the responsibility on their own.

So this underground hidden world exists…

Interesting…

Anyone care to take a guess as to why????

I have a couple interesting theories. None that I can write out on social media.

Interesting to note:

  1. Education human rights cases tend to be very long and complex. Weeks long.
  2. The human rights tribunal is already an overwhelmed system as it is. 3-5 years is the current estimate start to end time.
  3. According to the HRT annual report only 1% of complaints make it to a hearing, and if you are unrepresented against lawyers only 20% win their cases. Without hearings happening in education, we don’t have enough case law in education around discrimination.
  4. Parents are quoted &120,000.00 in lawyers frees for a 5 day hearing for lawyer representation. If you win, the settlement offers are small fractions of your legal fees.
  5. Pro-bono lawyers, once you get a settlement offer, wont agree to take your case to a hearing. Or good luck finding one who will.
  6. There is a turn of the tide happening right now. The latest human rights hearing list, has three cases in education, all in the same month.

It is a hidden underground world.

You want a concrete example of what systemic oppression looks like…well…here it is folks!

Oh and fun fact, this system isn’t changing anytime soon.

Where is the outrage?

Oh, that’s underground too.

You see, at Harris & Co. they do explicitly list “defamation issues including defamation on social media” as part of their services.

Lucky us.

Annual Report Season

Hello All,

Below are links to a collection of annual reports for the following organizations. I find the data fascinating and a window into what they are willing to share with us. These are all current annual reports for their 2021-2022 periods.

Here are the list of links,

Human Rights Tribunal – 35 pages
BC Office of Human Rights Commissioner -43 pages
Community Legal Assistance Society – 26 pages
Ombudsperson – 92 pages
Office of Information and Privacy Commissioner – 36 pages
Ministry of Education and Childcare – 22 pages
Inclusion BC – 27 pages
Family Support Institute -24 pages
Ministry of Family and Child Development – 19 pages
Representative of Children and Youth – 132 pages
Teacher’s Regulation Branch – 27 pages

The one I am STILL waiting for is the Teacher Regulation Branch annual report…. I’ll add it when it comes out.

I encourage you all to take an internet deep dive and find organizations or ministries that interest you and read their annual reports.

What kind of annual reports are you interested in reading about?

Happy discovering!!

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.

*****************************

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