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After mother's plea, kindergartner will go to school 5 days a week

Samantha Nakoolak was told that because of a shortage of student support assistants, her son Michael, 4, might only get class time on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Samantha Nakoolak’s letter and Facebook post about her 4-year-old son caught the attention of MLA

Samantha Nakoolak was initially told her four-year-old son Michael may only be able to go to school three days a week due to a shortage of student support assistants. (Submitted by Samantha Nakoolak)

A Rankin Inlet mom is celebrating after learning on Monday that her son can go to school five days a week — but it's been an emotional couple days to get there.

On Friday, Samantha Nakoolak was told that because of a shortage of student support assistants, her son Michael, 4, could not to go to school that day.

Michael doesn't speak at the same level as other kids his age, so he needs the student support assistant when he is in class, she said.

Earlier in the week, Nakoolak met with school staff and was told a staffing shortage could mean her son would see less class time – he might be restricted to Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning kindergarten.

"It's not fair. It's not fair for a child who is determined and wanting to go to school to be told that 'no, you can't go to school today, because there is not enough staff," she said.

Samantha Nakoolak posted a photo on Facebook of her son dressed and excited for school, and she wrote a letter to the minister of Education. Within hours of her post, Nakoolak said she heard from her MLA Lorne Kusugak. (Submitted by Samantha Nakoolak)

There are 173 student support assistant positions in Nunavut. As of July 31, 21 of those positions were vacant.

Michael started school alongside all his classmates on Aug. 16, so Friday's call came as a big blow.

Nakoolak took to Facebook, posting a photo of her son dressed, ready and excited for school. She also wrote a letter to the minister of Education. Within hours of the post, Nakoolak said she heard from her MLA, Lorne Kusugak.

Over the weekend, Nakoolak prepared for the fight to ensure her child could go to school like other children.

A phone call from the school early Monday morning put a halt to her plans. The principal said they heard her message and had hired a support assistant to be with her son every day, Nakoolak said.

"I know they are trying their best to support my son and every student in their school and I applaud them and I thank them for that," she said.

"While I was on the phone with the principal I had tears of joy, and I let my family know as soon as possible. I let my Facebook friends know. I am very, very, very happy."

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