Parent’s Handbook on Inclusive Education 6th ed.
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It’s the beginning of October and Inclusion BC has been abuzz with calls from parents whose children have had limited access to an educational program. In some cases, students are still waiting at home. This unacceptable, no matter what the reason. In this article we want to give parents some tips and tools to address the immediate issue and to promote open and honest communication between home and school for the long term.
In this article you’ll see:
Much more can be found in Everyone Belongs in our Schools: A Parent’s Handbook on Inclusive Education.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities-Article 24
“Countries recognize that people with disabilities have a right to an education. In order to realize this right without discrimination, countries agree to ensure the availability of an inclusive education system at all levels, as well as access to life-long learning. This means ensuring access to the general education system and the provision of supports and accommodations within the general education system.”
Inclusive Education Policy-BC Ministry of Education
All students should have equitable access to learning, opportunities for achievement, and the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of their educational programs. Special Education Services: A Manual of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines.
“Student with special needs:” A student who has a disability of an intellectual, physical, sensory, emotional or behavioural nature, has a learning disability or has special gifts or talents, as defined the in the Manual of Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines, Section E.
Funding, Assessments and Required Documentation
All school districts receive a basic allocation of funding per student (including students with disabilities) registered in the school district from the Ministry of Education. In addition, a district is provided supplementary funding based up the needs of students within their district. In order to qualify such students must have been appropriately assessed and have an Individual Education Plan (IEP).
*Please be aware that these funds are not attached to a specific student but are provided to school districts to support the needs of students within the district. Most districts in BC spend more on these programs than they receive, such as speech/language support, occupational support, behaviour support, etc.
Should you be inclined to read legislation here are a few things to keep in mind about the Language of Policy:
By the way, an IEP is not a legal contract in BC therefore does not require any signatures. The principal, however is responsible for ensuring that the IEP is implemented.
The School Act says parents are entitled to:
Steps towards Resolution:
It is important to know that there is a process to resolve concerns at school. If you skip a step, you will be sent back down the ladder.
The teacher is usually the first person you should approach with a concern. Remember the teacher is ultimately responsible for the education of every student in his/her classroom. However, if your child is not yet attending school or is there for reduced hours then you probably need to go directly to the school principal.
Section 11(2) of the School Act says:
If a decision of an employee of a board significantly affects the education, health or safety of a student, the parent of the student or the student may, within reasonable time from the date that the parent or student was informed of the decision, appeal that decision to the board.
A School District appeal is only an option when all of the previous steps have been exhausted. All school districts are required to have an appeal policy and process in place.
Appeals can only be made to a Superintendent of Achievement if a decision of an employee of a board significantly affects the education, health or safety of a student AND the matter relates to:
Pick your battles and try to reserve your energy for the many opportunities that may lie ahead. With each achievement, no matter how small, congratulate yourself for a job well done and celebrate!
Inclusion BC is dedicated to supporting inclusive education and is available to provide advocacy when needed. Please contact Karen DeLong at 604-777-9100 ext 530 or email@example.com.
We are continuously seeking to hear from families regarding their experiences. Please let us know when things are going well!
Time-tested qualities of effective partners include:
Precedent Setting Court Cases
The 2012 Supreme Court Decision Moore v. British Columbia states that:
A helpful summary has been prepared by the Learning Disabilities Association of BC
Another important case was Hewko v. British Columbia, 2006 BCSC1638 and was a partial victory claiming:
“the District is required to consult with parents regarding the student’s education program AND the Court also ruled that reasonable accommodation was part of the duty to consult.