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Government must support students with exceptionalities: Petten
Barry Petten today expressed sadness with media reports of the challenges faced by families with autistic children and other developmental disabilities.
Tuesday, March 29, 2022

(March 29, 2022) – Barry Petten, PC Official Opposition Shadow Minister of Education and MHA for Conception Bay South, today expressed sadness with media reports of the challenges faced by families with autistic children and other developmental disabilities.

Petten was responding to media reports outlining the frustration of parents who say their children are not getting the supports they need to go to school.

“This is an unfortunate situation. Student Assistants are absolutely critical to provide the support for an individual student to function in a school environment. Our Caucus has continually heard from parents with concerns over the availability of student assistants in the classrooms,” said Petten.

“The situation has gotten so dire that parents are actually keeping their children home.”

Petten noted student assistants can be scheduled for as little as three hours a day, causing significant recruitment challenges which leave the student ultimately impacted. Vacancies and continual turnover only contribute to disruption in the classroom.

“Unfortunately, the Furey Government continues to give out student assistant hours based on the collective needs of the entire school, vs the individual needs of the student. This is wrong,” said Petten.

“Each student should be supported based on their individual needs. It is not a one size fits all.”

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