Friday, July 26, 2013

Should parents be concerned?

Last week our Minister of Education signed off on curriculum documents without even having a glance at them.  You can read what transpired here:  You can be sure there is an agenda of some kind.  As council woman Maddie DiMuccio recently stated "This is indeed a big deal. It's getting out of hand. The more the system forgoes traditional teaching methods in favour of highly controversial "progressive" education, the more our kids are falling through the cracks. There's plenty of evidence to prove this. We should leave the "progressive" education to parents."

The Ministry of Education boasts about parental engagement and then puts up the stop signs at every level, whether it be curriculum or student safety. An education system funded by our tax dollars doing nothing more but trying to muzzle the parent voice. The Liberals are about moving forward with whatever agenda they wish while ignoring the majority of voices, the basic right of people to not only voice opposition, but be to be HEARD. This is evidenced by Bill 13 - the Accepting Schools Act.  A piece of legislation that was opposed by 80% of those who presented at committee hearings, yet a piece of legislation that found its way through to becoming law.  A very perilous course of action.

The controversial sex-ed curriculum shelved in 2009 was put on the back burner as a result of public outcry.  "When Sun News reporter Faith Goldy asked Sandals directly if the Liberal government is looking to revive the sex-ed curriculum in its original format as it was in 2009, Sandals responded: “That’s the commitment that both [former] Premier McGuinty and Premier Wynne have made.” 

It's time for parents to involve themselves full out and head on where it concerns what the curriculum entails.  Parents should be concerned.  It is extremely likely that our rights to teach our own children about the birds and the bees when WE consider them to be ready, socially and emotionally, to learn about that aspect of life will be outweighed by a political agenda.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Teachers feel unsafe

“More than a quarter of teachers and public school board staffers say they’ve been threatened with violence in the last year.” This is the result of a voluntary survey taken by 6,000 Thames Valley District School Board employees last December. You can read the article in it’s entirety by cutting and pasting into your browser: "" There are a number of things that I find disconcerting with this piece of information. "Bill 168...forces employers to assess the threat of violence and harassment in their workplace..." I really need to question whether or not there is a similar piece of legislation that would put the same kind of emphasis on the threat of violence and harassment within the school environment that countless children are enduring on a daily basis. Adults have been unable to effectively resolve bullying issues in the workplace or home; however, as adults they have a defined legal recourse, with consequences for the offenders. Children have no such recourse. They have no union representation. They have limited rights under the law – which are vague and rarely enforced. The highlights of this survey really alarm me in that if adults feel this way, we can only imagine how some of our students are feeling. We ask our children to stand up to aggressive behaviour, we ask our children to intervene when a peer is being abused, yet when an adult within the confines of school walls is assaulted or threatened by a student, police intervention is immediate. At the end of the day, the assaulted teacher will not be expected to spend time in the presence of his/her aggressor, yet we ask our children to do this on a daily basis. As adults, we have made our children responsible for self-policing, and while we are doing this, we have teachers suffering from work related stress for fear of being assaulted by a student. "40 percent feel unsafe interacting with students with a history of violence"....." and "in some schools a lot of teachers and staff say workplace violence negatively affects their mental health". Imagine that......however, I have yet to hear of a teacher attempting suicide as a result of post traumatic stress disorder because of long-term aggression from a peer. A student assaulting a teacher would be gone so fast, yet a child's reality is that they must endure the continued presence of their aggressors while they are trying to learn. The educational system put in place to teach our young clearly doesn't always provide the necessities of life for some of our children. Adults - are the reason bullying continues. Politics and bureaucracy within our educational system is the reason some of our children remain unsafe while at school and turn to taking their own lives because there is no light at the end of the tunnel. As a long-standing, grass-roots organization directly and only established to represent the voices of children and families since 2007 who have been victimized by bullying, “anti-bullying” advocacy is the sole purpose of my organization. I have no other mandate, responsibilities, conflicting agendas, budgets, or labour issues; child suicides are increasing, as are mental health and addiction issues. Great ideas may be in place – but they are not being translated into any meaningful committed action. Children are children. They learn their behaviour from the adults around them. Asking children to fix a problem they did not create, when they do not have the maturity or skills to fully comprehend the full affects of their actions, is unfair and unrealistic. When are we going to step up to the plate and acknowledge that we are not doing enough? The premiers of Canada are meeting at Niagara-on-the-Lake this month. Bullying is on the agenda. It will be interesting to see what they collectively come up with.