N.B. teachers want inclusive classrooms reviewed
Concerns are being raised by both teachers and parents in New Brunswick, about a key part of the province’s education system, inclusion.
It’s where students of varying abilities and differences all study together in one classroom.
But the union representing teachers in the province say it’s a policy that’s good in theory, but inconsistent in the classroom.
As the mother of two children who live with autism, Kelly Richard says an inclusive school system has been a real benefit to their education and well-being.
“And it helps the other children to see that not everybody is like them,” she explains. “And they work together to form those friendships.”
Richard says the policy isn’t perfect, and continues to be a challenge for other families.
“Their children are in school for three to four hours a day,” she adds. “They go till noon and that’s it, and the school doesn’t have enough support in the classroom to make the inclusion work.”
The president of the New Brunswick Teacher’s Association wants a complete review of the official policy that came into effect in 2013.
“It was implied we would receive the proper benefits,” explains Guy Arseneault, New Brunswick Teacher’s Association President. “The proper supports to meet all the needs.”
Arseneault says teachers are concerned, not just about the quality of learning, but in some cases, their own safety.
“For instance, I was in touch with a teacher the other night,” says Arseneault, “and she informed me at that time that she had been hit twice in one school and kicked in the chin later that day as well.”
New Brunswick’s Education Minister Serge Rouselle turned down CTV News’ invitation for an interview on Thursday.
In a written statement he says, “We have received the NBTA’s letter regarding inclusive education and a response to the union will be provided in the near future.”
“And it should be reviewed,” adds Arseneault. “That’s all, we want to work with the department, find solutions, teachers are there to make the system better.”
The NBTA says it would like a review carried out, with any changes implemented before the school year next fall.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore.