As you try to navigate Ontario’s growing school-test overload, here’s a helpful tool from the advocacy group Friends of Education Ontario.
On its website, FOE tracks parent complaint cases, along with how the system adjudicates the complaints.
FOE says Ontario’s School Act defines a child as “an individual child, his or her father, mother, brother, sister, adopted child, stepchild, half-sibling, parent or legal guardian, whether directly or indirectly, and each such person is a member of the family household in which he or she is living.”
Ontario’s Act also says that “No pupil in the public or Catholic school system may be expelled from the system or from further use of educational facilities if, in the judgement of the superintendent of schools, the matter is an extraordinary circumstance or there is no other reasonable remedy available to a pupil.”
FOE recommends that parents and others gather information about all the options available to address how to help a student in serious distress.
When might one look to report a student? FOE says:
The person reporting the case should list the specific actions taken by the school and all the information that’s available including written documentation.
FAO also says parents or others can call the Board’s Complaints Hotline at 1-800-252-0963, a dedicated page, or a consumer helpline at 1-800-454-9276.
In 2011, FOE began providing regular updates of student discipline issues, suspensions and expulsions. In April of that year, an FOE representative posted an update on its website that at the time “included 291 complaints, 117 of which were investigated.”
More recently, FOE’s deputy director of advocacy Samantha Litvack said the organization is noticing many more complaints coming in — so far for 2017, 5,133, compared to 3,789 for all of 2016. Litvack didn’t provide an update on individual suspension data.
Here’s a sample search in FOE’s database. You can type in “school” and the school name to look for a result.
FOE, formerly known as Together for Quality Education, advocates on behalf of the families of Ontario students in public and Catholic schools.