End blocker use in schools: committee 0
A committee of the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) is calling for the end of the use of blocker shields when staff are working with special-needs students.
Angie Bridekirk, chair of the special education advisory committee (SEAC), hopes board officials will end blocker-shield use after reading their report.
The report and two motions were created after SE AC did some community consulting of its own about blockers with an event -- Inclusion and Safety: It's Not an Either Or -- May 2 at Simcoe Community Services.
"We held a community event and had 50 people attend from Simcoe County and other parts of Ontario," Bridekirk said. "We had parents, community services groups and agencies working with special needs, and we tried to get as much feedback about the blocker issue as possible. The overall feedback was that these blockers are not acceptable and not a proactive measure to be used in our schools."
Monday night, SEAC passed two motions stemming from that event to be sent to board trustees.
"The first motion was for the board to stop using the shields altogether. They are shields and a shield signifies putting up a barrier between people. We are for inclusion, not barriers.
"The second motion is asking the board to consider partnering with community organizations and accept their invitations to work together to create better, more respectful and dignified ways of supporting those with disabilities," she added.
She said the motions have been marked as time sensitive, so they will not be included at the next board meeting, scheduled for June 20.
"We want to ensure they aren't delayed until September," Bridekirk said. "We have done the best job we can and we're hoping the board will listen. If they don't, we'll just have to keep going at this. 0
Barrie's Progressive Conservative MPP, Rod Jackson, is trying to pull some strings on his end to stop blocker use, too. A private member's bill that Barrie MPP Rod Jackson brought to Queen's Park to ban the use of foam blockers passed first reading on Wednesday. The Conservative member said he isn't surprised it went through.
"It went through, and they usually do the first time," Jackson said. "I got quite a bit of applause, which was surprising for a first reading. I also got stopped on my way out by members from both sides (Liberal and NDP) and was asked for copies of the bill."
His blocker ban bill aims to remove blocker shields from schools and proposes a fine for their use.