Whitehorse Daily Star

Practices at Jack Hulland School investigated

More controversy is looming for embattled Education Minister Jeanie McLean and the Department of Education.

By Tim Giilck on November 24, 2021

More controversy is looming for embattled Education Minister Jeanie McLean and the Department of Education.

Speaking Monday afternoon in the legislature, McLean informed her fellow MLAs of a new investigation being launched into the ongoing problems at Jack Hulland Elementary School.

“Information has recently come to light that the use of holds and physical intervention being used to manage student behaviour at Jack Hulland may be in breach of school policies and possibly the Criminal Code of Canada,” McLean told the assembly.

“This information has been reported now to the RCMP and (territorial) Family and Children Services. We understand that an investigation is now underway.

“To ensure that we provide full and accurate information to support the investigation, the Department of Education is conducting a fact-finding review to look at workplace risk assessments at Jack Hulland, including the Grove Street program, as well as other relevant reports involving the use of holds and isolation rooms over the last five years.”

The Porter Creek school’s Grove Street program is provided for students with behavioural issues.

“We are working to confirm who will lead this fact-finding review, and we will share more details as they become available,” McLean advised the house.

“I want to be clear that the Yukon Teachers’ Association (YTA) has been engaged and that the school council staff and families are being notified.

“There is a school council meeting this Wednesday, which I will attend along with senior officials.”

More significant news for McLean and the department came Tuesday afternoon.

Annette King, the territory’s Child and Youth Advocate, issued a statement declaring her office has formally notified the Departments of Education, Health and Social Services, and Justice of a new systemic review over recent reports of child restraints and confinement spaces at Jack Hulland.

“The objective of the review is to ensure a co-ordinated response by Yukon Government to support children and their families in recovering from the harm caused by these alleged practices,” stated King.

“We intend to ensure that any response from the departments involved upholds the rights of children.”

The advocate has requested information regarding communication, status of investigation, therapeutic supports and co-ordination of services.

“The systemic issue of physical restraint and confinement at Jack Hulland raises a substantial question of public concern for students, particularly students with special needs,” said King.

“We are alarmed by how many rights are violated by these alleged practices, and will structure  our review according to how the government responds.”

YTA president Ted Hupé said he is looking into the situation, but isn’t overly familiar with it.

He said he would look at the transcripts of what McLean told the legislature, and that he is aware of a letter that has been sent to parents.

There was no response to the Star’s inquiry to the school council about the situation.

The Yukon Party said this morning, “We urge the Liberal government to fully co-operate with the investigations and to share all the information requested by the Child and Youth Advocate and parents.”

The party raised issues of the harassment and bullying of students and staff at the school, and property damage there earlier in the current legislative session.

Neither the official Opposition nor the NDP had any questions on the announced investigations for McLean during Tuesday’s question period.

Comments (12)

Up 42 Down 1

Sharon Willson on Nov 27, 2021 at 3:25 pm

It’s a little ironic that the staff who spoke out against violence has had it turned around so it looks like it was our fault. Every restraint was reported to the department, and parents also had to preapprove those measures.

Up 20 Down 14

Thoughts from the MZ! on Nov 26, 2021 at 12:32 pm

Here is the solution: Stop making education a right and make it an obligation instead. Bring back standardized testing - You will be educated to a minimum standard. Thus, education becomes a collective responsibility.

Then we can attach penalties. For example, little Johnny could not stop talking in class today and he interrupted class time for everyone else. Little Johnny can be fined for these offences - Little Johnny wasted 20 minutes of class time - The fine is 1/3 of an hour of the teacher’s gross pay per hour.

There can be a program through which students and parents can work off their fines - Garbage pick up, graffiti removal, hallway patrols, sweeping and mopping floors, and by serving as peer mentors or Educational Assistants.

Yes - The parents of students who offend against the public order can be goodwill ambassadors - Greeting and apologizing to students, teachers, and others who attend the school.

Up 59 Down 1

stephen on Nov 26, 2021 at 8:35 am

How about those people making the accusations, senior managers, politicians and investigators spend a month in a classroom with these teachers and then see what happens.

I found it quite interesting 30 plus years ago when we had divided classrooms for special needs children that the government came along and told teachers, hey, we are going to integrate these kids into the regular classrooms and we will provide you all the support you need. The younger teachers were ok with it and the older ones knew right away what would happen. Fast forward to today. Successive provincial and territorial governments across Canada have reduced the funding and support in the classrooms and left the teachers to fend for themselves. These governments have put the students, support staff in classrooms and teachers at risk.

Its ok to have special schools where these kids go to get more one on one help and there are health and medical support to help them learn at their own pace or live in society. Ahhh, but then the governments would need to fund it properly.

Now they are going to investigate the classrooms? Maybe investigate the governments and those trying to cover their butts.

Up 38 Down 0

Nathan Living on Nov 25, 2021 at 7:19 pm

As long as the practices used involve written protocols it's ok with me.

Restrain them for the sake of children who do not have neurodivergent issues .

Up 42 Down 0

Find solutions. on Nov 25, 2021 at 5:21 pm

Anybody who is being critical here--what have you done to help the students in question? Both of my children have dealt with 'problem behaviours' in their classes in elementary--it takes away from everybody's education! You can't expect to pack a class with 25 elementary kids and have 3-4 who have major behaviour problems. So Grove St. has small numbers and lots of adult help but the school is getting slammed. What would you have people do with these children? Solutions? Mine would be to home school with support from DOE--sounds right now like parents blaming the school the those parents can't handle their own children. If a child is that severely misbehaved that they need restraints or other, then find a different route. My kid needs help with his subjects - but the educational assistant allocation goes to these kids with severe behaviour problems. Takes away from all of us when they are the only focus group and kids in the middle are simply ignored or not given help.

Up 38 Down 0

Just Sayin' on Nov 25, 2021 at 1:08 pm

IF someone is acting mentally ill and physically hurting themselves, a day or two at the psych ward may help.
I understand there will always be challenging students, but this is not fair to put kids who obviously have a copious amount of trauma in a situation which does not help them. This must suck for everyone.

Up 68 Down 3

Juniper Jackson on Nov 24, 2021 at 8:43 pm

There is no 'win' for anyone here. I was not there, I did not see what happens. But, I do know that you can't just talk to an out of control kid. Put him/her in a room and lock the door until help gets there? Yeah, and they bang their head against the wall until they bleed and knock themselves unconscious. So, you put restraints on them and end up in the Star.

I think any risk situation has to be looked at. But not a witch hunt. No one is going to win on this kind of complaint.

Up 82 Down 4

Something is rotten in the State of Denmark on Nov 24, 2021 at 6:29 pm

This all seems so oddly coincidental timing by YTG, right on the heels of our staff raising concerns about violence in the school and our inability to deal with it. And for Ted and the YTA to say they did not know? That’s absolutely not true as they have been actively telling us to not speak up for fear we’ll be fired if we do. But here we are now, being investigated by the Department of Ed. Just like YTA said we would be if we spoke up about how inclusive education is impossible here in Yukon. And how we as staff are afraid for ourselves, our students, and our jobs. This is a witch hunt by senior people in Education to keep us quiet.
I would like to know who is behind all of these alleged reports. Maybe an ATIPP request about how impossible it is for us to work as teachers would bring some clarity that the Star could report on instead of the departments one sided viewpoints? You said in the legislature Ms Mclean that you hear us. Clearly you have not. You just want us to shut up.

Up 72 Down 4

Moose101 on Nov 24, 2021 at 4:35 pm

Your talking about rights - what about the students that get bullied and hit by these grove street students? What about the rights of the teachers and learning assistants that are spit on and physically hit by these students. What are they to do turn a blind eye and let this student melt down in class and scare the $:@& out of the other students who are there to learn? No, they have to be restrained. I hate to say it but if this Grove Street program is not eliminated, we could end up like what’s happened in many schools in the US with disgruntled students - it’s only a matter of time !!

Up 54 Down 10

bonanzajoe on Nov 24, 2021 at 4:29 pm

JSM: So is Human Rights. Children need to be disciplined. When I was a child back in the 40s and 50s, we got a bit of physical disciplining. And accept for a little soreness after, it smartened us up. Oh, when we got home, we got some more for it. And that is no myth. It seems we are raising up a generation of children that will grow up with no respect and many will end up in greater trouble.

Up 20 Down 33

Rick S on Nov 24, 2021 at 4:16 pm

Child molesters shielded for politics, children being restrained and put in isolation, quite possibly children being mandated dangerous injections in the near future.

Good time to start a homeschooling business.

Up 72 Down 40

JSM on Nov 24, 2021 at 3:13 pm

The Lieberal Government is failing our children.

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