Students who came to Regina as refugees are having a hard time in the classroom, according to teachers in the city's public school system who say they need help with language resources.

"As refugees, many of these children and youth have come to Saskatchewan under difficult circumstances," Jeff Perry, president of the Regina Public School Teachers' Association, said in a news release issued Friday morning.

'Refugee students and their teachers should not have to struggle.' - Jeff Perry, president, Regina Public School Teachers' Association

According to the association, 178 new students are attending classes in Regina's public schools.

"Some may have experienced physical, psychological or emotional trauma or isolation, while others may struggle with different social norms, lack of schooling and language barriers," Perry said. "They require additional supports and additional teacher contact time to build the trust and relationships required to help them be successful."

EAL support needed

The association made what it called an "urgent request" to Saskatchewan's education minister seeking "much-needed interim resources" to support refugee students.

The association said their main concern was the need for additional English as an additional language support, which will need to be sustained for several years.

"Teaching EAL students requires a significant amount of sustained effort from teachers and schools," Perry said. "The recent arrival of so many new EAL students has already, and will undoubtedly continue to, put additional pressure on teachers."

Perry said teachers have discussed their concerns with officials from the Regina public school system but noted the school division's "ability to respond is limited" without additional dollars from the province.

"Teachers have gone so far as to assemble and deliver backpacks with supplies for the newcomers to help meet their basic needs in school," Perry said. "Refugee students and their teachers should not have to struggle through another single day."