Dyslexia BC now has a blog and what are they posting about?
Some upcoming advocacy action. That’s what!
“Next week, starting on April 27, 2023 the British Columbia School Trustees Association (BCSTA) is having their 2023 AGM and they have a motion at the table submitted from the North Vancouver School Board (No.44) that is called “Learning Disability (Dyslexia) and Policy/Guidelines for Screening in Kindergarten.” To help support this motion we have written a letter to the BCSTA Board.”
To read the letters and support the very important motions, visit their blog at Dyslexia BC Blog
We have an important consent resolution that has rightfully been making the news.
The Professional Conduct Unit (formerly Teachers Regulation Branch) doesn’t have a great track record.
In fact, most of the complaints parents file lead to “no action”. It has been confusing, disheartening, and a punch in the gut for many that leads us to question the legitimacy of this department in the Ministry of Education and Child Care that should be protecting the most vulnerable.
As shown by the annual reports by the Professional Conduct Unit, you can see for yourself.
In the year 2021-2202 out of 242 complaints/reports only 28 led to a consent resolution. If you read through them all, you will get a clear sense of which ones make it through. Most of them are sexual offences or related to physical safety.
There is a lot more going on in schools, unfortunately, that require action in order to keep kids safe from harm beyond just their physical bodies. Based on self-reporting of parents, especially for kids who are disabled, they just aren’t making it through, even when the human rights tribunal is accepting the same complaints from the same parents. Here is the discipline database.
Thankfully, most teachers will never experience this process because, well, they are just absolutely fabulous who have a genuine care for children. All of us parents and society will forever been in their debt. Forever and ever.
Other people….chose the wrong career.
Even though the TRB rarely, and I mean rarely, releases a consent resolution connected to a student with a disability, this recent case highlights that the teacher wasn’t aware of the students IEP and Safety plan, when they should have been, and states the incident has caused the student anxiety.
I was hoping this story would make the news.
And it did.
Many parents feel that IEP’s don’t get the respect they deserve. Some teachers follow them to a tee fully embracing them, and others completely ignore them. Ignore an IEP and safety plan and we could end up seeing you in the news one day.
Here is the full consent resolution that is posted on the Ministry of Education and Child Care’s website. Parents, you may want to keep this one on your computer. An advocacy tool.
Bellow are news articles on this important consent resolution. I will update them as they are posted in the media.
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?
The Ministry of Education doesn’t track how much money districts are spending of tax payers’ money on lawyers’ fees to fight disabled children in human rights complaints. They don’t know how many human rights complaints are being processed by each district, how much settlements are…nothing. Not even on their radar. Click HERE .
Ombudsperson doesn’t look at the decisions school districts make; they just look at the process. If decisions are made as a group, they are not accountable for the actual decision. SO, if they plan to rob the bank together, they are good to go.
Ministries cannot testify against another government ministry in a human rights complaint. So, if your child was receiving counselling from the MFCD, they cannot testify that the damage was caused by the education system. If you could afford a paid counsellor at $120 per hour, they are allowed to testify.
When you are missing documents from a Freedom of Information request, and the Office of Information and Privacy investigates, you need evidence that the document you are seeking exists. Witnessing someone write notes, isn’t enough. So, you need the documents to prove that you are missing the documents. Catch-22, that they fully acknowledge and are aware of.
When filing a complaint with the Professional Conduct Unit, the certificate holder has the last word. You will never know what statements they make, even with an FOI request they will block you and site Section 22. When the OIPC investigate, the ministry will refuse again, and then your only option is to make a request to a judicator. The wait is 2 years, yet you have 60 days to file with the BC Supreme Court to contest it. The certificate holder can say anything they want and you will never get an opportunity to provide more evidence after their incorrect statements. If you experience retaliation, your only course of action is to file a complaint again, and go through the whole thing all over again.
If you file with the Professional Conduct Unit against a certificate for lying/misleading the commissioner, the Ministry of Education will say it will be processed and the commissioner will say it’s not in their jurisdiction.
The Ministry of Finance will block all Freedom of Information requests related to information connected to your child and the risk and litigation department.
Even with case law from the Supreme Court of BC that requires legislative change, school boards and the Ministry of Education requires Ombudsperson complaints just to force communication regarding such legislation and policy.
Our court system will most likely throw out any lawsuit against a school, as the court system doesn’t want to open the flood gates of parents suing. They know the system won’t be able to process and take on the number of cases. So, not only are you guaranteed to have your case tossed, but the district can then ask the courts to make you pay their legal fees.
Teachers, support staff and parents are all reporting that the education system is at it’s worse than it has ever been compared with 10, 15 years ago. Resources are stretched so thinly. EA’s now have way too many students at one time. The finance department in the Ministry of Education says that schools have never been this healthy… AND they believe it.
For some people there are four seasons in the year. For parents of children with disabilities we have a fifth season. It’s called IEP season.
An IEP is a lifeline to your child’s education. IEP stands for Individual Education Plan. The IEP has been undergoing some changes in recent years and the role of what inclusion means for all children has been evolving due to very passionate education advocates with very high disability literacy skills.
We live in a social stratification system. That means that our social structure is layered, a hierarchy, like bricks layered to form a wall. The layer you are in, will dictate your access in life. Not everyone has equal access to information, choices, safety, health care, education, relationships, etc. The list is a long one. Social stratification is almost universal, in all cultures. Those who have privileges don’t really notice it. It is weightless. The people who are not part of the privileged layers do feel it. It’s felt every single day. Heavy. Taking up space in society when you are not part of societies cookie cutter pop out shape, can feel like a protest. Advocacy is a part of daily life.
Parents play a key role in their child’s education. Ableism is blended into our society and chasing the dream of true inclusion in the classroom is often a dream that parents spend years chasing. The expectation of inclusion and anti-ableism is changing. Parents and students have had enough of being excluded from the classroom, either physically, mentally or emotionally. The struggles are real. There are wonderful stories out there and there are also horror stories. The pandemic has brought to light the inequities of society even more and the inequities in education are no different. To say this year has been stressful for many families with children who have disabilities is an understatement, while other children have flourished with the adaptive distant learning options.
It starts with the IEP, and in May and June, IEP meetings are all a buzz to review the year. Emotions are high and advocates are in full swing. For those of you who are busy getting ready for this year’s seasonal planning, your advocacy efforts are a puzzle piece of a much larger picture. You may not realize that your individual fight for your child’s rights to access an education, are part of a larger cause. The movement is growing. Anti-ableism is part of the diversity movement, and the movement is building, one IEP meeting at a time.
I have heard many people admit that they have sent emotional emails, or that they are labelled as “rude” or a “tense advocate”. I have heard of parents being banned from schools or they have had to pull their child out of their school or even the district because they are viewed as too emotional. When parents admit that they have “lost it”, and sent angry or emotional emails, it’s admitted as if its some shameful act. I will admit that I too have sent my share of emotional emails. So why are so many parents losing their shit?
This is a symptom of a much larger problem. This is what happens when there is no accountability for decisions made from district administration or Boards of Education. It’s when administration have all the power and don’t need to do anything they don’t want to. It’s when parents are bullied, have fear of retaliation, or are served emotional abuse on a plate with a smile. When there is a fish flapping around and behaving strangely, we all point at the fish and wonder what is wrong with them. No one looks at the pond. Let’s take a look at the pond, shall we?
Parents are legally required to send their child to school. Parents need to work and fit in daycare schedules to cover their working hours. Transportation from home to school comes into the decision-making filter and everything needs to fit perfectly. Now let’s say school is turning into a disaster, and as a parent you need to advocate. This is not a minor issue you are dealing with and you feel that your child’s physical or mental health is being severely affected. The stakes are high. This is after all your child. However, you are being ignored by administration. You are being lied to by administration. The problem is not being fixed, and they don’t have to do anything about it. They are gaslighting you. You feel you are an ant under a magnified glass and they are just watching you squirm in the sunlight. And. There. Is. Nothing. You. Can. Do. About. It. And now you send an email and lose your shit.
Parents, don’t feel bad. Your reactions are normal and given the situation, one could argue even healthy. The amount of self-regulation that I have had to go through to send emails to the district, is intense. There are times, I literally need to leave my home to get myself away from a computer. They are getting a fraction of my true feelings and intensity. It’s normal that one squeaks through, every now and then. It’s not you. It’s the pond.
Now, you have sent your emotional email. I have heard stories that as part of their strategy, parents have experienced the districts using their emails against them as emotional blackmail. I have never had this experience, thank goodness. I would snap. I’d think you would see me on the 6 o’clock news looking like I popped out of a zombie movie ranting about the education system. There is a definite abuse of power and toxicity about the lack of protection vulnerable children and families have in the education system.