March 23rd, 2016

Potential Closure of Demonstration Schools Leaves Vulnerable Students to Pay the Price: MPP Monique Taylor

In Question Period today, NDP Children and Youth critic Monique Taylor (MPP Hamilton Mountain) called on the government to promise worried families and students that specialized (provincial and demonstration) schools will not close. 

“A few weeks ago, Seamus McKenna, from Hamilton Mountain, participated in Model Parliament. Seamus has struggled throughout his school years due to a severe learning disability. But last September things changed dramatically for him when he started attending Trillium Demonstration School and, a couple of months ago, he took it upon himself to apply for the Model Parliament. It is a striking testament to the value of our demonstration schools. Will the Minister tell Seamus and many other families across the province that these specialized schools will remain open?” asked Taylor.

Consultations are currently taking place at all three English Demonstration Schools for students with severe learning disabilities (Amethyst Demonstration School in London, Trillium Demonstration School in Milton, and Sagonaska Demonstration School in Belleville) as well as Robarts School for the Deaf and Centre Jules-Léger (Ottawa) Provincial and Demonstration school. During consultations the government has frozen enrolment, questioning the legitimacy of the process and leaving families concerned that decisions about these programs have already been made.

“Seamus is only one of many students that I have heard from on the importance of access to these specialized environments. Especially when this government continues to cut special education funding to school boards.  Families and kids deserve better from this government.  I ask again - will the Minister, today, commit to keeping our Provincial and Demonstration schools open?”