Halton District School Board expresses concerns over proposed changes to Provision of Health Support Services in School Settings
Published February 18, 2022 at 1:42 pm
The Halton District School Board (HDSB) recently sent a letter to the Ministry of Education, to express their concerns over proposed changes to PPM 81 (Provision of Health Support Services in School Settings).
The Provision of Health Support Services in School Settings, which was issued in 1984, is an interministerial agreement that represents the provincial government’s commitment to ensure that those with special needs receive the support required to benefit from an educational program.
The letter was written by Alison Brindle, Chair – Halton District School Board Special Education Advisory Committee to the Ontario Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce.
At a recent meeting, the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) of the HDSB carried a motion stating that the HDSB SEAC Chair write a letter to the Minister of Education “expressing the committee’s unanimous opposition to the changes to PPM 81 in its current form.”
The letter explains that the HDSB SEAC does not feel that the Ministry has provided enough time for “authentic engagement” with all stakeholders in order to provide “meaningful feedback” on the changes to PPM 81.
“As this PPM covers vital day-to-day and life-saving services to students, it deserves a
fulsome discussion and analysis of the impacts that these changes will have on affected
students, families, educators, support staff, and the school community as a whole,” reads the letter.
“This has not been possible within the three-week timeline that we have been given to provide feedback on this PPM.”
The letter went on to state that the board is “extremely concerned” over the short time frame that could potentially allow PPM 81 to be implemented without a thorough understanding of the implications and possible negative impact.
“As a SEAC, mandated to represent the needs of all students with exceptionalities, and in this
case of some of our most medically fragile students, we are highly concerned about the
apparent downloading of medical services to educational staff,” read the letter.
The letter also noted that they believe it is “inappropriate” for medical professionals to be allowed to delegate their tasks to non-medical staff.
Other major concerns outlined in the letter were the inequity in service that the changes could cause in classrooms as well as funding for the expensive change.
“In unanimously approving this motion, the HDSB Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)
would urge the Ministry of Education to reconsider the implementation of the proposed changes
to PPM 81, until there is meaningful and authentic engagement with relevant stakeholders to address these concerns,” read the letter.
The letter concluded by explaining that without an extension to the deadline for feedback, this cannot be undertaken.
“Without this opportunity to provide proper feedback, the HDSB SEAC unanimously
opposes these changes.”
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