Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cause for Concern

Since posting this blog I have been contact by Danielle Smith - leader of the Wildrose Party and she informed me that their web summary was incorrect. And that they changed the policy substantially after consultation. The attached link is now to the revised Education Policy summary. I thank them for their prompt response.

To whom it may concern,

I am normally not one to get too involved with politics. I do my research, make my decision and cast my vote. But a recent statement from the Wildrose Party* regarding Special Needs students has just sat so ill in my stomach that I really felt the need to share my story and opinion.

I quote:
"· We will end the practice of forcing special needs students into the same classrooms as regular students, unless it is clearly beneficial.

· High needs students need personalized care and attention. Everybody suffers when a handful of high needs students dominate a teacher’s time and attention while other students go without the instruction they need."

Whether it was your intention or not, the language within this statement reads so negatively. I think it is dangerous to refer to everyone "suffering" due to special needs children being in the classroom. It feels like a huge kick in the gut, and a big step backwards for the parents who have fought long and hard for their child to have the right to learn with and from their peers.

Too often we concentrate on the negatives and do not place enough value on the positives these children bring to the classroom. We cannot devalue the opportunity typical children have to learn compassion, understanding, and acceptance while sharing their class with a special needs child.

I am attaching a link to a blog post written by the Superintendent of Holy Spirit Catholic School Division in Alberta. This preschool is my son's, and the mom he speaks of is me. I hope and dream that every child can feel as accepted in his class and community as mine does. And I would be absolutely crushed if that opportunity was ever taken away from him.


Kareena Zanolli
Taber, AB

*The Wildrose Party is a provincal political party in Alberta. The Alberta Provincal election is set for Monday, April 23. Here is the link the the party's Education policy: