WOODLANDS SCHOOL REPORT: AN ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
PREPARED BY DULCIE McCALLUM
SUBMITTED TO THE MINISTRY OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT
August 2001

INTRODUCTION

The Ministry of Children and Family Development,
previously the Ministry for Children and Families [“the
Ministry”], initiated this review as a result of a number
of isolated complaints which had been filed with the
police and became public through the media. The
complaints apparently involved allegations of physical
abuse at Woodlands School [“Woodlands”]. Government
responded with a decision to conduct this review. At the
same time, though unbeknownst to the public, there was
at least one civil proceeding involving Woodlands in
progress. Although there was no press release at the time
the review was begun in the spring 2000, some of the
community leaders in the disability movement were
put on notice by the Ministry. Late this spring, the
Vancouver SUN ran an article about allegations of abuse
at Woodlands that made the fact that the review was in
progress widely known.

This very deliberate step by government represents a
departure from comparable situations in the past because
of the terms of reference for the proposed review. It was
intended to scrutinize the administrative records of
Woodlands with a view to discovering if there was any
evidence of systemic abuse at the institution. It was
government’s intention at the outset that if the administrative review showed evidence of systemic abuse, a second phase would follow in which people would have the opportunity to be heard. Because the review can be
characterized as proactive, it is seen as an act of notable
civility reflecting genuine respect for the prior residents
of Woodlands.

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