Students pulled, school council resigns at Beaver Creek, Yukon, school
They say the Department of Education isn't working in the best interests of the community
All four members of the school council in Beaver Creek, Yukon, resigned this week and parents are withdrawing their children from the one-room schoolhouse, over concerns that the Department of Education isn't working in the best interests of the community.
Nelnah Bessie John School, which goes from kindergarten to Grade 9, is the small border community's only school. It's now down to six students from 11.
The council and parents say it's not providing a place where children can learn.
Parent Shasta McNamara says she's "appalled" by the situation.
She says she wants a basic level of education for her children, so she's home schooling them until they move to Nova Scotia.
"It doesn't feel like we're in Canada when we're fighting for our children to get a basic level of education," McNamara says.
"Our experience here in the past two years, [there's been] like no structure and not really much for education being provided."
Tristian Nieman says she pulled her three kids out of the school for the second year in a row because of concerns about the quality of education. But she says it's hard on the children.
"They like the structure of the school and seeing their friends and stuff so they're suffering a bit for that," Nieman says.
The former council chair, Kate Todd, says the biggest underlying problem at the school is understaffing and a reluctance of the Education Department to deal with it.
She says the school council wanted a place where children are engaged in learning, and that wasn't happening.
Education Minister Doug Graham said Thursday his department is not ignoring rural schools. He said the government has increased the number of education assistants by 50 per cent and is constantly reviewing school staffing.
"We will determine if we need additional staff, but money's going to be tight in the next few years and we have to work with what we've got," Graham said, adding the government can't afford to pay for one staffer for every two or three students.