An education advocacy organization called People for Education says “special needs” students in the Province of Ontario are increasingly being asked to stay home. During the four-year period of 2014-2018, the organization has noted an increase in the number of elementary and secondary school Principals who report recommending a special education student stay home for at least part of the school day. The majority of the Principals surveyed cited safety as the primary reason, with others saying they do not have adequate resources to address students’ needs.
Inclusive education researchers say the trend is not unique to Ontario, adding factors such as inadequately deployed resources or poor attitudes toward special-ed students may also be at play. People for Education say the results are especially striking given that the amount of provincial funding directed towards special education initiatives has climbed by $1 billion over the past 10 years.
Of those surveyed, 73 per cent said the student was being kept away from class out of concern for “safety.” The respondents did not indicate whether that safety concern was for the student in question, that student’s peers or the education workers.