FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 4, 2022
WHITEHORSE – The territorial Liberal government continues to keep Hidden Valley Elementary School (HVES) parents in the dark.
The recent progress update on the Safer Schools Action Plan was insulting to the Hidden Valley School Council and the school community. It is now August, and parents say their concerns have still not been addressed, and support has not been provided. School community members also say things are worse than they have ever been and they did not think they would have to advocate so much for the basics.
The Liberals’ have been aware of these concerns since the beginning of the summer. In a letter from the Council in early June, they stated; “The Department of Education has acknowledged missteps they took following this incident, and we were promised over and over that any supports we needed would be provided. To date, we have not received the critical supports we have requested.”
The Yukon Party Official Opposition has also learned that the HVES principal resigned last week after the release of the report. The job posting for a new principal has yet to be released even though the new school year is just over two weeks away. This is in addition to several Educational Assistant positions remaining vacant. Parents had raised concerns that the administrative burden for the HVES scandal is being unfairly downloaded onto school staff, which was the primary reason they requested additional resources for a full-time vice principal.
“It is well past time for this Liberal government to do the right thing and provide the requested supports to families,” said Lake Laberge MLA Brad Cathers. “The Liberals continue to treat the Hidden Valley scandal as a public relations issue to be managed, instead of taking serious healing and support actions. Patting themselves on the back and issuing press releases congratulating themselves in their progress is insulting to the families. At least one parent has said their child has yet to even speak with a certified counsellor, which is a shameful failure of this government.”
Cathers again urges the government to implement the requests from parents. They have requested that the Liberal government provide the following:
- Provide Hidden Valley School with an additional 1.0 FTE for a two-year term to fill a vice-principal role, as requested by HVES School Council.
- Provide a clinical counsellor, licensed to practice in the Yukon, assigned to HVES for a two-year term, as requested by HVES School Council.
- Seek Management Board approval for a specific fund dedicated to supporting Hidden Valley School students, families, staff, and the school community as they deal with the aftermath of the serious crimes committed by the former EA. This fund should be flexible enough to meet needs that may be identified later, but specifically include coverage of private counseling for students, families, and staff.
- Establish a multi-departmental trauma response team, with the authority and resources to take action quickly to respond to the needs of the school community.
- Ensure that any students who were victimized by the former employee have the dedicated supports they need, including if those students move to another school in the Yukon.
“It’s been over a year since CBC Yukon first broke this story, and the Liberals continue to ignore parents and Yukoners,” Cathers added. “Their failure to work with families and parents has become a systemic problem and needs immediate attention.”
The Liberals’ insistence on ignoring parents when criminal proceedings first began is what created the Hidden Valley Elementary School scandal. The failure of the Deputy Premier to inform parents of the serious abuse allegations that occurred at the school prompted the majority of MLAs in the Yukon Legislative Assembly to vote in favour of her resigning from Cabinet. At the time, the Premier gave both the Deputy Premier and the current Minister of Education a vote of confidence. Further, the NDP have yet to use their influential position to force the Liberals to properly support families or support transparency through a public inquiry.