The provincial Child and Youth Advocate plans to open an investigation following reports that Anglophone East School District had barred the children of some international students from attending public school.
“We are opening an investigation next week into why we had 52 children of international students attending career colleges who were denied school privileges for months,” Kelly Lamrock told a legislative committee on Wednesday.
NB Media Co-op video-journalist Arun Budhathoki reports.
Last week, the NB Media Co-op reported that Anglophone East School District in Moncton had barred children of some international students from attending public school.
Two non-profits called for the Minister of Education to grant those children access to education in a letter.
Hola New Brunswick and Moncton Cares said the international students had to pay tuition fees of approximately $16,500 annually for a child to attend public school.
That same week, Education Minister Dominic Cardy announced his resignation from the Cabinet of Premier Blaine Higgs.
He outlined the reasons for his departure in an open letter that slammed Higgs, comparing him to a dictator. It’s unclear whether the issue involving international students was a factor.
In a tweet, the NB Media Co-op asked Dominic Cardy if those children would be able to attend school. He said: “the direction before I left was clear: students in New Brunswick should be in school. Full stop.”
Later, the NB Media Co-op reported that the school district had invited the affected parents to register their children for school.
‘Children belong in school’
And this week, during a legislative committee meeting on accessibility, Lamrock said he planned to open an investigation into the matter. “Children belong in school, and the law says they belong in school,” he said.
The Department of Education told the NB Media Co-op they were reviewing the matter.
A spokesperson for the department said: “We have been working directly with Hola Atlantic and school districts on providing free school privileges to school-aged children under the regulations of the Education Act.”
A spokesperson for the Anglophone East School District says they are following provincial guidelines.
As for the investigation, the Child and Youth Advocate will report back “if and when he has findings to share,” according to a spokesperson for his office.
During this week’s committee hearing, Lamrock also spoke about other accessibility issues, including those faced by autistic children or children considered ‘disruptive.’ In particular, he said issues include access to Educational Assistants.
Arun Budhathoki is a journalist with the NB Media Co-op. This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada, administered by the Canadian Association of Community Television Stations and Users (CACTUS).