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Vandalizing an Elementary School in the Name of Protest

It’s that time of the year again, when parents take a sigh of relief while children return to school. However, this year returning to school has been different for many students and teachers. Why? Teachers school facility, MPP’s and school buildings are facing the backlash of the new sex education curriculum.

AidsIn the first two days of schools alone, two schools were vandalized supposedly by parents in protest of the newly revised sex education curriculum. The phrase “shame on you” was spray painted on the walls of Thorncliffe Park public school and Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy. Personally, I found this behaviour to be immature. Canadians have the right to protest but this kind of action is just unacceptable especially in the case of elementary schools.

Students shouldn’t be exposed to vandalism as a means of adult protests. It’s not fair for the children to have what is supposed to be their safe space to learn vandalized. Imagine seeing these words in a space where children aged 4-10 play and learn. Imagine how upsetting it was for parents to explain to their children why that writing was on the wall. Sex-education is a sensitive issue and it is understandable why parents have their concerns. Everyone has the right to protest and follow their beliefs however; I don’t believe vandalism is the way to achieve that goal.

Furthermore, half of the students from Thorncliffe were removed from their first day of classes as a protest to the new curriculum. Thorncliffe is known for having a large Muslim population of students. However, some Muslim community members such as Farrah Marfatiah have chosen to take a unique role by creating a guide to the new guidelines by explaining the changes in accordance to Islamic beliefs. Read more about it here: http://tinyurl.com/qbqpohg. In the past, some parents have protested outside of Liberal MPP offices against the new legislation.

Wednesday, “the day of protest” was put together by the pro-life group Campaign Life Coalition. Some parents went as far to suggest that they are considering removing their child from public school and placing them in Catholic schools or home schooling their children in order to avoid having their child learn the new sex-education material. Other parents are arguing that sex-education should be taught at home. Conversely, some parents are accepting the sex-education curriculum for the most part but object to parts of it including teaching children about homosexuality.

LgbtqDespite the backlash, many students, parents and school boards support this movement and believe that it should’ve been updated much earlier. Some children have stated that they understand the material better and had many of their questions answered. Moreover, parents are arguing that they may not have the time to stay up to date with the new technological threats which have evolved over the years and are glad that schools are taking on this responsibility.

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What does the new sex-ed curriculum include? Find out here:https://thesocialparalegal.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/lets-talk-about-sex-ed-new-legislation/

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Daycare Gone Wrong: Toddler Fight Club

As schedules become increasingly busier many parents are looking to place their children in daycares. Daycares are meant to be safe spaces for children to learn and interact with other children while parents are at work. Unfortunately, some daycares fail to satisfy the required standards, such is the case of a New Jersey daycare.

Two employees at Lightbridge Academy daycare in New Jersey decided to run a toddler “Fight Club”. The daycare employees had approximately a dozen children aged four to six striking and tackling each other. Erica Kenny, who was one of the supervisors, made a Snapchat video of the children rumbling and shared it with her followers. Kenny was heard encouraging the children to fight each other while reciting Fight Club dialogues in her Snapchat video. Fortunately, the video was recorded by a viewer and shared with the authorities. To make matters worse, Erica Kenny is a teacher’s aide and Chanese White is a teacher.

Untitled

The two employees Kenny, 22, and White, 28 were criminally charged for their behaviour. Both employees were charged with fourth degree child abuse. Kenny was further charged with third-degree endangering the welfare of a child. Both employees were fired. The daycare continues to insist this was an isolated event.

Parents were outraged to learn what had occurred in the daycare. One parent went as far as to state her son had returned from the daycare with a broken finger and she now questions if it was a result of the toddler wrestling ring.

That’s the U.S what about Ontario?

Updated Child Care Laws in Ontario

Ontario is trying to tackle the shortcomings of the existing childcare legislation by updating legal standards set out in the the Daycare Nurseries Act (DNA). As of August 31, 2015, under the new rules of the Child Care and Early Years Ac t (CCEYA), the only requirement for an unlicensed daycare is that there must be less than five children under the age of 6 (not including the daycare owners own children) being supervised at one time. This limitation applies regardless of the number of adults in the home.

In August of 2016, the government would like to make an amendment that requires unlicensed providers to count their children under the age of 6 and can only take care of two children under the age of two. In August of 2017, the legislation aims to “include children who are 10, 11 and 12 years old in the total care of children they care for”. Noncompliance may result in administrative penalties and convictions that may include fines.

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Points of Discussion:

1. What are your thoughts regarding Ontario’s proposed updates?

2. Do you feel the decision against the employees was just? How would you do it differently?

If you are a parent or know someone who has child in a daycare, please share this piece and help educate others about the law.

Unjust Or Just Too Late? Loss of Sickness Leave Benefits Leads To Class Action

Should individuals on parental leave have sick leave benefits?

The federal court has recently approved of a class action started by parents who were denied sick leave while on parental leave. These parents were faced with sickness while on parental leave and applied for Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits which was denied by the federal government. The name of the woman behind the action is Jennifer McCrea, she lives in Calgary.

McCrea’s story

While on parental leave with a nine month old baby, McCrea was informed that she would require a double-mastectomy. McCrea applied for sick leave and was informed she qualified for 15 week benefits but was then later denied these benefits.

McCrea is not alone; she suggests that there are thousands of others who should have received their 15 week benefits between 2002 and 2012 in addition to the 50 weeks of Employment Insurance Maternity and Parental Benefits they were paid. According to McCrea’s claim approximately 3,177 Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits applicants were denied benefits within this time period. This $450 million class action is pursuing compensation for damages including retroactive payments and claims of pain, suffering along with psychological losses.

Controversy

In 2011, a Toronto lawyer successfully argued a case on behalf of a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer, had to undergo chemotherapy and get a double-mastectomy while on parental leave. However, the Toronto lawyer faced some challenges in his case as his first attempt was not successful.  He  was informed that his client would not be eligible for Sickness Benefits as she was not available for work during the time. The lawyer chose to appeal the decision and took the matter to the Employment Insurance Board of Referees; an adjudicator supported his client’s entitlement to Sickness Benefits.

Following this decision, the Helping Families in Need Act was put in place by the government which pays women who have become ill while on parental or maternity leave. Why isn’t McCrea covered under this Act?

McCrea brought her action forward before this legislation was in force.  Perhaps this is why the class action was approved as these rights are already provided to women who become sick while on parental leave after March of 2013. However, the government argues that McCrea has a weak case.

The government is arguing that the Employment Insurance Board of Referees made a decision outside of its jurisdiction by adding words that were not in the act; hence this skewing the interpretation of the act. It was reported that the government has spent over 1.3 million dollars in legal fees to counter this class action.

This is definitely an interesting case to follow.

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Points of discussion
1. Do you believe McCrea should be compensated under the Employment Insurance Act?
2. Do you believe the law should be enforced in strict coherence to the words or in the spirit of the law?

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