FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 3, 2022
WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Party is demanding immediate action to address the alarming issues raised by the Hidden Valley School Council. In an open letter, the council has revealed that the Liberal government has repeatedly failed to deliver the critical supports that it has requested during the 2021-2022 school year. The letter comes almost a year after the CBC reported on the conviction of a charge of sexual interference involving an educational assistant in 2019.
When news of this abuse became public in July 2021, the Liberals promised they would support the Hidden Valley school community. These assurances continued through the fall sitting of the Legislative Assembly.
The Minister of Education told the house on October 12, 2021:
“…I will continue to walk with the school community through this and do whatever I can, as the Minister of Education, to support them.” (Hansard, October 12, 2021, pg. 330.)
The Minister of Education told the house on October 25, 2021:
“In terms of supports, we have made supports available of course, to families and staff, including on-site support coordinated via the school community consultant.” Later, she said, “supports to Hidden Valley are incredibly important, more so than ever given the challenges that the school has faced this year. Referrals to other supports and services are being facilitated as needed…” (Hansard, October 25, 2021, pg. 551)
There are many other instances in the Legislature, in letters, and in-person at a school council meeting in early November where the Minister made these commitments.
McLean recently reiterated that support during a March 3, 2022, CBC Yukon interview that said she was ‘absolutely committed’ to working closely with the Hidden Valley school community. These commitments ring hollow following the confirmation in the council’s letter that the Minister of Education and the Liberal government have failed to deliver what they promised.
This lack of support for the Hidden Valley school community continues an appalling trend with this Liberal government. Since the scandal broke, the Premier, Deputy Premier, and Minister of Education have avoided accountability, and have brushed off numerous requests from parents, and the school itself.
Now, with the school council repeating requests for crucial supports including a full-time vice-principal, and clinical counsellors, we urge the Premier and Minister of Education to stop making excuses, listen to the school community, and fulfill their ministerial duties to act where it is most urgently needed. We strongly urge the Liberal government to provide the necessary support as requested by the school council so the school community can begin to recover and heal.