Could stu­dents ‘slip through the cracks’ un­der new sys­tem?

Port Wil­liams mother says six new spe­cial­ists not enough to sup­port all stu­dents

Valley Journal Advertiser - - NEWS - KINGSCOUNTYNEWS.CA Sara.Ericsson@kingscountynews.ca

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.

SARA ERICSSON

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.

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