Funding shortfall hampers support of Nanaimo children

Re: Proposed cuts worrisome for child advocates, April 14.

To the Editor,

Re: Proposed cuts worrisome for child advocates, April 14.

Bullying is an issue affecting our children and is a concern to parents, teachers and the community at large.

Nanaimo school board has recognized its role in addressing the right of children to feel safe in their school environment.

I support the work currently being done in our district to address student safety.

Trustee Donna Allen has headed committees to develop and/or improve districtwide policies and procedures to address issues such as race relations, gender identity and violence prevention.

Most importantly, the board has performed needs assessments and action plans to support current policies and direct the future direction of our district; however, we can and should do more as a school district and community.

There is a need to support any policy with education and the provision of tools and resources to ensure all students feel safe at their school.

Our board has made $15 million in cuts in the past decade. Vital services and supports have been cut in order to address chronic underfunding from our provincial government.

Because of ongoing cutbacks, support for vulnerable students has been removed.

The most recent proposal is to cut child and youth family support workers from our elementary schools. If approved, these changes will leave many vulnerable students out in the cold.

If we are serious about supporting our children and, most importantly, their right to a safe learning environment we need to, as a community, demand that our district receive funding to enable necessary services and supports to be available.

During this year’s budget debate, trustees must have the courage to take a stand, with our community, to demand more for our children.

Derek DeGear

Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association

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