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Save Ontario Schools, Deaf Community Says

VIDEO - Deaf News: Petition to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to save PSB schools in Ontario, Deaf community says.

LONDON, ON -- London Free Press: The province’s Deaf community and their supporters are putting pressure on Ontario’s government this week, calling on them to keep schools for the Deaf and special needs students open.

Executive director of the Ontario Association of the Deaf, as well as parents of kids who attend so-called demonstration schools - they’re funded outside the traditional school board model will be with London Fanshawe MPP Teresa Armstrong Thursday, in whose riding Robarts and Amethyst schools are located.

Save PSB Schools Petition:

The group will make a presentation on the future of five such schools, including the two in London.

“The vague, uncertain messages from the Ministry (of Education) has affected our community-wide morale, self-esteem,” said David Wiesblatt, president of the London Club of the Deaf, which is organizing one of three provincial community forums on Friday.

Armstrong could not be reached by press time.

Robarts teaches Deaf students in their first language, American Sign Language, giving students a sense of community and culture, proponents say.

Amethyst is for students of average to high intelligence who have severe learning disabilities.

Students live at both schools, operated separately on Highbury Avenue, and go home on weekends.

The 2012 Drummond Report, which contained suggestions for the province on how to save money, recommended closing demonstration schools and integrating students in mainstream schools.

“Robarts has wonderful staff, administrators and facilities to support and serve our Deaf kids to thrive. We have many, many successful stories from the students and transfers from mainstream schools,” said Wiesblatt.

Many fear community consultations are a sham and the province has already made up its mind about the closings.

The total budget for the nine provincial and demonstration schools is $87.6 million. This includes salaries, operating costs and capital expenditures. Only five of the schools are under review.

Deaf Schools Under Reviews:

Robarts School for the Deaf (London): 25 senior students and 40 elementary-aged pupils.

Amethyst Demonstration School (London): Maximum 42 students a year.

Others: Trillium Demonstration School (Milton), Sagonaska Demonstration School (Belleville), Centre Jules-Leger (Ottawa.)

Save PSB Schools Petition: Sign up to support to save Deaf Schools in Canada.


Related Canadian Deaf Schools:
Deaf Schools In Belleville Worried About Future
Canadian 'Deaf Superintendent Now' Movement
Deaf Canadian Schools In Lawsuit Alleging Abuse
Deaf Students Abused By Priests Win $30-Million
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