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Press Releases 2005

For immediate release

November 15, 2005

 

KLEES TO MINISTER: WAKE UP TO STUDENT SAFETY

 

(Queen's Park) P.C. Education Critic Frank Klees demanded assurances from Education Minister Gerard Kennedy that a reduction in supervision time teachers are required to provide according to their new collective agreement will not affect student safety in Ontario 's schools.

"The fact that a young teenaged girl was subjected to a 'campaign of terror' involving sexual assault, sexual harassment, forcible confinement and criminal harassment, in a Toronto school over a period of 18 months and not a single staff member was aware that the student was being terrorized raises some very serious questions", said Klees. In questioning the minister, Klees said "This should be a wake-up call to you as Minister of Education to note that there's a serious supervision problem in that school. It should be a wake-up call to you that if it's happening in that school, it is probably happening in others."

Klees raised the issue during Question Period in the Ontario Legislature yesterday on the first day of "Bullying Awareness Week. He quoted from a letter sent by the Ontario Principals' Council to the Minister of Education which stated, 'Supervision is an issue that has been an ongoing concern for us, since a decrease in supervision time has a direct and negative impact on our ability to keep our schools safe. We are therefore alarmed to learn that school boards across the province appear to be negotiating this limit on supervision time without regard for the preconditions established in the memorandum'.

"It certainly appears that the warnings issued to the Minister by the Ontario Principals' Council are being ignored," added Klees. "When the provincial framework for the collective agreement was announced, this Minister said that there was no price too high to pay for labour peace. Reducing supervision time is wrong, and this situation proves how this aspect of the agreement can affect the safety of our children."

 

School boards were instructed to make every reasonable effort to implement 100 minutes of supervision time in 2005-06 and reduce that to 80 minutes in 2006-07, provided there were no additional costs to the board and that student safety was maintained," said Klees. "Clearly, in light of what we're hearing almost daily about bullying and student safety concerns across the province under current conditions, this reduction in supervision time will have potentially serious consequences to safety in our schools. The Minister has a responsibility to ensure that the safety of our children is not compromised as a result of this deal he negotiated. He has the warning from the provinces' principals, and we will hold him accountable.

 

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For further information

Frank Klees, MPP

905-707-3160

Hansard attached