At-risk kids languish on waiting list
TORONTO, Sept. 30 /CNW/ - A recent report of the Toronto Catholic
District School Board (TCDSB) suggests Dalton McGuinty has broken another
promise to kids.
A report by the Special Education Advisory Committee of the TCDSB,
released September 26, 2007 states:
"Under the revisions passed by Bill 212 a possible alternative to
suspensions is community based counseling services but if the current
level of service continues this will not be a readily available
When Bill 212 was introduced to amend the Safe Schools Act, Dalton
McGuinty's education minister, Kathleen Wynne, promised to "provide programs
for students who have been suspended or expelled and allow those students to
earn their way back into the classroom and complete their education."
(Hansard, June 4, 2007)
The report goes on to detail how students who "exhibit troubling
behavior" and who need treatment or counseling are on long wait lists. Over
700 students are waiting an average of 5.9 months for counseling from
community mental health agencies. The wait times vary from 3 months to 1 year.
The long wait lists mean "many are not chosen for the program after
initial contact is made," the TCDSB reports. Also, because the time delay in
the process, some students choose never to enter the program when they are
offered a position.
Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne were warned that the amendments would
only work if there were "sufficient support services within the system"
(Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, May 2007) and that it is "easy
to write in legislation that we'll have students in a special program, but for
the teachers and for the principals in the school, it's much more difficult to
put into practice, and it certainly requires significant resources and
support." (Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, May 2007)
This report follows on the heels of news that Kathleen Wynne authorized
$350,000 to be diverted away from the Focus on Youth program that keeps
schools open in at-risk communities to be spent on lawyers instead.
Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne have broken yet another promise to
For further information:
For further information: Mike Van Soelen, (647) 722-1760