- At Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf in Belleville on Thursday, parents, teachers, and students from Ontario’s four deaf and blind schools gathered.
- The Ernest C. Drury School for the Deaf in Milton hosted one. Over the next two weeks, demonstrations will take place in London and Brantford.
On Thursday, parents, teachers, and students from Ontario’s four deaf and blind schools gathered at Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf in Belleville, Ont. to protest the province’s ongoing cuts to special education funding.
“The objective of this rally is to lift awareness about the problems in provincial schools,” says District 30 Officer David Sykes of the Provincial Schools Authority Teachers (PSAT). “These are deep-seated issues, systemic issues, and long-standing issues.”
According to Sykes, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) membership in his district has dropped from about 205 teachers to 174 at the most recent count.
“We’re also seeing a decline in enrollment,” Sykes says. “It’s not that fewer deaf children are being born in this province; they aren’t being identified or allowed to attend our schools.”
According to OSSTF PSAT D30, 130 people attended the event that day.
Organizers are calling for more oversight and transparency from the provincial government and the protection of provincial schools through funding, resources, and staffing.
“Special education students are the last to receive services,” says Tamara Witcher, president of PSAT D30. “In the last 5 years, we’ve already lost 25% of our teachers.” a quarter percent!”
Teachers at the E.C. Drury School for the Deaf in Milton, the Robarts School for the Deaf in London, the Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf in Belleville, and the W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind in Brantford are represented by PSAT D30.
Sarah Colbeck says, “Deaf schools are the best place for deaf children to learn.” “For their education, social skills, life skills, and first languages,” says the author.
Like her parents before her, Colbeck attended Sir James Whitney throughout her education.
She is now the mother of five deaf children, two of whom are currently enrolled at Sir James Whitney.
“The issue is primarily with the admin and administrators; they need to change,” Colbeck says. “We also need a deaf representative at that level of government to assist us in advocating for those changes.” Then our educational systems will improve.”
Both parents and teachers claim that their demands are not new. Their students’ success depends on funding.
The rally on Thursday is the second of four planned across the province, one at each school.
Last week, one was held at Milton’s Ernest C. Drury School for the Deaf. Demonstrations will take place in London and Brantford over the next two weeks.
Source: Global News