Systemic Change in Education

The current education system in British Columbia has failed to provide the necessary accommodations for students with disabilities to gain meaningful access to education. As it stands, the system places various barriers which effectively inhibit children, such as my son, from obtaining an education. I have filed a Human Rights Complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal in B.C. on behalf of my son, in the hopes of obtaining the necessary accommodations to enable him to have access to an education. I believe this case will also assist other students with disabilities to ensure that they too are granted access to an education. As the Human Rights Complaint requires the services of a lawyer, I am trying to raise funds to pay for the associated legal fees. My hope is that this case will challenge the system and assist others in their fight for equal access to education.

Some more information about my story:

I am the mother of an 8 year old boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder who attends elementary school in the Surrey School District. Finding an Education Assistant (EA) with the specific skills my son requires for his safety and learning has been a challenge. Last year, he was paired with an EA who was the perfect match. Under her skilled guidance, there was a drastic change to my son's behavior, which allowed him to participate and become more engaged. My son was finally thriving in school because the appropriate specialized supports were in place.

Unfortunately, because of the way that the system has been set up, we were informed by the School District that the uniquely qualified EA would not be able to continue working with my son. About a dozen parents were in a similar situation as myself, and through intense advocacy, some of us were able to retain our respective EAs for only the upcoming school year, while others were told that their request would not be granted.

The current system does not recognize specialized skills or child specific training as an essential accommodation for children with disabilities. Without the specialized supports in place, my fear is that my son, and others like him will effectively be barred from obtaining the education that they deserve. If my Complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal is not adequately resolved, this cycle will continue to be perpetuated and more children will be denied essential accommodations for their disabilities. By supporting this Human Rights Complaint, you will be promoting the human rights of children with disabilities. We thank you for your support.   

More information can be found at these links:

My radio interview

Doug Strachan (Communications Manager for Surrey Schools) interview

Marcey Campbell (CUPE 728 President) interview

Nicole Kaler (another parent), interview begins at approx 2:30
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Jenn Newby 
Surrey, BC
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