President, Debi Wells Special Education Teacher, Robb McKay.
Psychologist, Dr. Sian Phillips
We planned to break into discussion groups at each table, but the audience at ETFO Limestone’s Community Forum on Building Better Schools had such an interesting general discussion that that we put the agenda away. We also planned to have the meeting end at 8 pm, but most of the 120 participants stayed until almost 9 o’clock.
Inclusion and integration without sufficient supports in place have led to increased violence and as Robb MacKay put it, “so many of these children need what we don’t have – time”. Some parents wondered why children were not suspended for fighting, citing that other students were learning that violent acts were acceptable in their schools. School closures leading to super schools were generally thought to be a disservice to everyone, and lots of people had ideas as to how the money spent on EQAO testing could be better spent. The discussion was wide-ranging and clearly outlined the general concerns about public education.
Debi Wells pointed out that nobody liked the funding formula, but that the union had not been successful in making a difference, nor had the senior staff at the Board office, nor had the Trustees. She said that there was great hesitancy about involving parents, but without their voice change would be a long time coming. Many people signed up for further information and there was a high level of enthusiasm for working together to make things happen.
We are all looking forward to working together.