Toronto, Canada – A new study by the non-profit People For Education shows nearly half of Ontario’s elementary school and 40 per cent of high school principals have recommended students with special education needs not attend school for the full day.
The report is based on a survey of 1,349 elementary and secondary school principals from all 72 of the province’s school boards.
Some Ontario students with special needs may not be able to attend school because of a lack of staff and resources.
The Education Act requires students between the ages of six and 18 to attend school unless excused due to illness or “other unavoidable cause.”
The report says principals sometimes ask students with special needs to stay home because the support they need is temporarily unavailable.
One Toronto elementary school principal wrote that:
“We have an autism spectrum disorder student at the severe end of the spectrum. He is unable to toilet himself, and was not provided with a special needs assistant as requested. He was too disruptive to be kept in the building beyond one hour, two days a week,”
The document states that resources remain a constant problem when it comes to teaching children with special education needs.
Ontario’s elementary schools have, on average, one special education teacher for every 37 students with needs.
The province is changing how it distributes funding for special education, which accounts for $2.72 billion of this year’s budget.
The original article by Paola Loriggio on the CTV News Toronto website can be read here along with a more in depth video.