March 3rd, 2016

NDP demands Wynne government keep schools for special needs students open

During Question Period today, NDP Education Critic Lisa Gretzky, demanded a commitment from the Minster of Education that she will not close schools that serve children with special needs. “The Minister claims that the potential closure of schools offering specialized supports has nothing to do with money. She even went so far as to say that it’s for “the sake of the children,” Gretzky said.  “The closure of Robarts School for the Deaf or Amethyst in London would leave students in Southwestern Ontario with nowhere else to turn.”“Will the Minister of Education listen to parents, education workers, and most of all students, and commit to keeping all specialized schools open?   The Ontario Ministry of Education operates four provincial and three demonstration schools for Anglophone Deaf, blind, deafblind, and/or severely learning disabled students.   It also operates Centre Jules-Léger, which offers educational programs for Francophone students with the same needs. “Ontarians are tired of hearing this government find any excuse to force schools to close.  Now, they’re even suspending enrolment at specialized schools to build their case.  My office has been inundated with emails from parents wondering why specialized demonstration schools are being told not to let any more children in, if the government is only consulting,” Gretzky said.“Usually, you consult first before you make decisions that impact some of our most vulnerable kids.   Students are emailing me devastated that schools designed to help them succeed could be shut down.  Families deserve more access to quality education. Not less.”“So I ask again. Will the Minister of Education ensure that no provincial or demonstration schools will be closed as a result of consultations?”