Home-schoolers have rights. And they deserve respect.
A Montreal mother said her son’s former school principal threatened to call youth protection services after she pulled her son out of his high school and began home-schooling him.
This student has Asperger syndrome, and clearly was not thriving in his school environment. The family chose to seek an alternative route, and THEY HAVE THAT RIGHT.
In our school board, we seem to be developing a more enlightened and inclusive approach to home schoolers. It started with people around our Educational Services committee table voicing their respect for the choices these families make. And instead of looking for ways of controlling them, we are looking for ways to support them.
But a spokesperson for the English Montreal School Board, Michael Cohen, said the Quebec Education Act is clear on that point.
“He is perfectly entitled to call youth protection services,” Cohen said. “You just can’t pull your child out of school and unilaterally decide to have our own home-schooling program.”
But actually, you CAN do just that. And perhaps that is why the case has already been dropped by youth protection.
The issue for school boards, for teachers, for principals to understand is that home schoolers don’t make these decisions lightly. They have a huge familial impact. A huge financial impact. And it’s not a choice they make that says they have no respect for schools, teachers etc. It’s a choice they make because they feel it is the right choice for them.
I daresay that most home schoolers have *more* respect for teachers than many regular school parents do.
Home schoolers are not trying to recreate a classroom in their home. They are not trying to replace a teacher. They are choosing an alternative educational path. A rich path; a different path. But a path to develop an educated, very well socialized, highly contributing member of society.
I am glad our school board is open and respectful and trying. We’re not all that I hope we can be just yet in our offerings for home schoolers, but we’re on the way there.
This action from the EMSB shows just how dysfunctional that board continues to be.