The B.C. Teachers' Federation is calling for the province's Minister of Children and Family Development to resign in light of the recent death of another teenager who was receiving help from the ministry.
Patricia "Indigo" Evoy was found dead in a Burnaby, B.C., apartment March 10. She is the third aboriginal youth, in as many years, to die while receiving help from the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development.
The BCTF says teachers have signed a statement acknowledging they "are often the first to notice and report suspected abuse and/or neglect to the MCFD."
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"As teachers, we see the impact of this government's damaging policies every single day in our classrooms," said BCTF president Jim Iker.
"Too many children in this province are living in a state of crisis and the ministry, led by Minister Cadieux, has failed to respond for too long."
The BCTF recently wrapped up its 100th annual conference. Iker said the issue of childhood poverty and mental health issues among children came up repeatedly over its three days.
"Teachers worry that there are not nearly enough school counsellors or learning-specialist teachers to meet the urgent needs of these students, especially since B.C. has the highest rate of child poverty in Canada," the BCTF said in a statement.
'They're not the first'
Cadieux says the union is entitled to its opinion, but she's not stepping down.
"They're not the first, and that's fine. They have an opinion. I have a job to do, and I'm doing it," she said.
"They have a right to have an opinion. Their members have the right to an opinion. That said, the teachers that I know certainly don't support their opinion."
B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan called for Cadieux to resign last September following the death of Alex Gervais, who jumped or fell from the window of the hotel he was placed in while in the province's care.
Both Cadieux and Premier Christy Clark rejected the call for Cadieux's resignation.