Could students ‘slip through the cracks’ under new system?
Port Williams mother says six new specialists not enough to support all students
Seana Collins is worried Nova Scotia’s education system has forgotten about her son.
Collins, whose 13-year-old son Jack attends Evangeline Middle School and was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of six, heads the ADHD Families Annapolis Valley, a Facebook support group for families whose children have been diagnosed with the disorder.
She says while the addition of six new specialists to the education system is a welcome change, there is little clarity on how far these resources will stretch. She worries that with these limited resources, students like her son – whose disability is not always apparent – will “slip through the cracks.”
“There is a huge group of children affected by ADHD. Classroom adaptations are not sufficient – our kids need to see psychologists,” she said.
No guarantees positions will all be filled: minister
Education minister Zach Churchill has confirmed that six new specialists will be hired by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development through regional education centres – local hubs of the new provincial school board – and will be non-union, contract-based positions.
He also confirmed all of these positions may not be filled by September.
“There are no guarantees these positions will fill by fall, but the terms and conditions for how they work will be there,” said Churchill.
Uttered threat, undertaking offences
Paul Joseph Gorai, 51, of Vaughan, has been handed a suspended sentence with probation for uttering a death threat to an individual and two counts of failing to comply with his undertaking.
Gorai was present in provincial court in custody on June 19, when he pleaded guilty to the three charges. He consented to being remanded in custody until June 25 for sentencing.
Judge Ronda Van Der Hoek handed Gorai a suspended sentence with one year of probation on the three charges and fined him $300 in victim surcharges.
Gorai committed the offences in Vaughan on May 25 and June 6 and in Windsor on June 9.
A charge of intending to pro- Seana Collins worries that six new specialists aren’t enough to support Annapolis Valley students who need additional resources, like her son, Jack.
He says the positions were created following recommendations from the Commission on Inclusive Education’s report, and to resolve the “backlog of psychological assessments,” he said numbers are in the hundreds.
But Collins worries her son, along with others with ADHD and other spectrum-based disorders, will not be prioritized – especially if less than six specialists are hired, she said.
That’s why Collins spends
voke a state of fear in a justice system participant in order to impede her in the performance of her duties by repeatedly communicating with her directly or indirectly was withdrawn on June 25.
Committed assault, failed to attend court
Scott Andrew Schofield, 38, of Gaspereau, has been handed a conditional discharge with probation for committing an assault and failing to attend court as directed by a judge.
Schofield pleaded guilty to the charges on April 24 and the matters were adjourned to allow time for a pre- sentence report to be prepared and for sentencing.
On June 27, Judge Ronda Van Der Hoek handed Schofield a conditional discharge with 15 months of probation on each count, to be served concurrently. Schofield was also ordered to complete 10 hours of community service work in re-
nearly $1,000 per month on private counselling for her son.
“I do this because otherwise, my son would not get the help he needs. I’m lucky I’m able to afford it - many Annapolis Valley families cannot afford that price tag,” she said.
‘Simply not enough’: Collins
Collins said she and other parents fail to see how their kids will be included within the new system since she said consulta-
lation to the assault charge.
Schofield committed the offences in Gaspereau on May 22, 2017, and in Kentville on Nov. 7, 2017.
Assault, undertaking offence
Kevin Donald Tanner, 34, of Newcombville, has been sentenced to probation and fined for committing an assault and failing to comply with his undertaking by failing to abstain from having any direct or indirect communication with an individual or failing to abstain from going to a specific address.
Tanner changed his pleas to guilty to the two charges on May 15 and the matters were adjourned for sentencing. On June 26, Judge Alan Tufts sentenced Tanner to 12 months of reporting probation on the tion has been lacking since these changes were instituted.
But Churchill disagrees with Collins and others who criticize this, saying consultation happened during the commission’s research stage.
“These come directly from recommendations from the commission – it has made all the recommendation to support to help improve inclusivity,” said the minister.
The commission recommended that 12, not six, new specialists be hired in Nova Scotia to adequately meet the needs of the province’s students.
And while Collins says any supports are better than none to help with “the dramatic deficit of professional supports” within the school system, this is “simply not enough.”
“My son has been missed by this system. As parents, we’re trying to be positive, but it remains
assault charge and fined him a total of $ 195 for failing to comply with his undertaking.
Tanner committed the offences in Canning on July 1 and 2, 2017. A charge of unlawful confinement was dismissed June 26.
Conditional discharge for assault
Quentin Mathias Long- Sorochan, 25, of North Kentville, has been handed a conditional discharge with probation for committing an assault.
Long- Sorochan changed his plea to guilty on June 26. Judge Alan Tufts handed him a conditional discharge with nine months of reporting probation and fined him $ 100 in victim surcharges.
Long- Sorochan committed the offence in North Kent- to be seen how our children will be included within this new system,” she said. ville on June 3, 2017. A charge of unlawful confinement was dismissed on June 26 with the Crown offering no evidence.
Probation for uttering threat
Shane Anthony Davidson, 46, of Mount Denson, has been sentenced to probation for uttering a death threat.
Davidson pleaded guilty to the charge on May 1 and the matter was adjourned until June 25 to allow time for a presentence report to be prepared and for sentencing.
Judge Ronda Van Der Hoek sentenced Davidson to one year of probation.
Davidson committed the offence in Windsor on March 10. Two counts of uttering threats to cause bodily harm to an individual were withdrawn on June 25.
The section of the Commission on Inclusive Education’s report outlining the recommendation that 12 specialists be hired to adequately meet the needs of students in Nova Scotia.
Education Minister Zach Churchill.