Every child has a right to an education. That right means more than just attending school every day. It means having the material presented in a way that allows the child to learn. It also means that every child should be free from harassment and bullying while at school. No child should be stigmatized or prevented from coming to school or from being given the opportunity to learn while at school because he or she is “different.”
Every teacher and principal agree with the above statements. They are all consistent with the Ontario College of Teachers Standards of Practice for the teaching profession. Unfortunately, not every student gets the education they deserve without help. Some students are challenging to teach. For others, it is difficult to figure out the best way to teach them. Playground dynamics can be complicated. Often it seems that teachers feel it is easier to ignore problems and hope they go away. Sometimes it is easier to try to convince a student to go away than to deal with that student’s situation or the impact that student might have on the school’s test results. When that happens, it seems like the child has fallen through the cracks.
If your child has fallen through the cracks at school, is being harassed or is not able to attend school, then it is time to consider hiring an education lawyer. We know that your child is entitled to a meaningful education. We know the standards that teachers and principals must live up to. We know how to make sure your son or daughter gets the education to which he or she is entitled.
Students learn differently. Some students learn so differently that they need to be taught differently or they need extra resources to help them with the learning process. When a child is not taught in a way that allows the child to learn, the consequences are much more serious than just poor grades. A child who is stigmatized, feels like a failure, feels different or is just frustrated can have mental health problems if the situation persists too long. Frustration can lead to behavioural problems. Frustration and poor self-esteem can make it difficult for the child to make friends. That can lead to isolation and more problems. Parents can see their child experiencing health and behavioural problems.
It is critical that children get the education that suits them. Whether obtaining that education involves going outside the box, putting in extra effort, or even changing the way things are usually done, the child will likely need an advocate. Advocating for their clients’ needs is what lawyers do. We know which resources ought to be available for students and the right process for getting them. We know which kinds of accommodations schools are required to make for their students. We know the process for having a child’s needs identified, including which professionals need to be involved and which assessments need to be done to ensure that identification is correct. We know how to get the resources in place to help a child. We also know what the correct response is when a child has been suspended, expelled or otherwise disciplined for problems related to the failure to address a student’s needs.
We have particular experience assisting children with autism-related conditions in order to secure proper accommodation and respect for their human rights.
For further information or assistance with education law, bullying or harassment, please contact Hugh Scher.