Canada

Ministry and police received complaints about schools closed years ago

Critics say it reflects a lack of oversight in private Christian schools eligible for government funding.

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The Saskatchewan government was informed of alleged violence against students at a Christian private school in Saskatoon years before its principal was named in a class action lawsuit alleging similar conduct at another institution.

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In 2016, a former Grace Christian School teacher wrote to Boris Oklinetz, the State Department of Education Superintendent of Private Schools, accusing Grace Christian School staff of pulling a child’s ear and holding a child’s head with their hands. said he was seen doing A form of punishment.

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The former teacher also contacted the Saskatoon Police Department, which confirmed through a spokesperson this week that it had received such a report during the year. confirmed. Saskatoon Police also confirmed they received her second similar complaint in 2018. No charges were filed.

This week, Education Minister Dustin Duncan closed Grace Christian School amid widespread allegations of abuse at a private Christian school in Saskatchewan.

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Class-action plaintiff Caitlin Erickson said Friday that the 2016 and 2018 complaints show a lack of oversight in qualified, independent schools run by nonprofits such as churches.

“This speaks to a gap in oversight. These schools could basically operate on a ‘don’t ask, don’t say’ type of policy,” Erickson said.

Caitlyn Erickson is one of two lead plaintiffs in a $25 million class action lawsuit against former Legacy Christian Academy staff and the school and the church that operates it.
Caitlyn Erickson is one of two lead plaintiffs in a $25 million class action lawsuit against former Legacy Christian Academy staff and the school and the church that operates it. Photo by Michelle Berg /saskatoon star phoenix

Erickson and other former students at Legacy Christian Academy allege former staff members of the school physically, sexually and psychologically abused them during their time at the school.

One of the named defendants in the lawsuit is John Orbobokun, former director of Legacy Christian Academy and now director of Grace Christian School.

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The allegations against Orbobokun and the other defendants have not been tested in court. He didn’t respond to a request for comment. Neither defendant has been criminally charged.

The Post Media requested an interview with the Okrainets this week. Instead, Department of Education spokeswoman Chelsea Baraski said in a prepared statement that such reports and allegations are being “thoroughly investigated” and that complaints of a criminal nature will be turned over to police. It was sent.

“Complaint details will be kept confidential while student safety is ensured. If charges are filed, the public will be notified through local authorities,” she wrote.

Grace Christian School and its nonprofit parent organization received more than $2.5 million in state funding from fiscal 2012 through the end of fiscal year 2021, according to public accounting. In 2013, such schools became eligible for government funding in exchange for complying with government requirements such as stipulations regarding curriculum, annual random inspections, and submission of annual reports to the government. rice field.

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Forest Grove Community Church recently canceled a school lease related to the ongoing Legacy Christian Academy abuse scandal. The Church will no longer lend to Grace Christian Academy.
Forest Grove Community Church recently canceled a school lease related to the ongoing Legacy Christian Academy abuse scandal. The Church will no longer lend to Grace Christian Academy. Photo by Matt Smith /saskatoon star phoenix

Duncan and state governments have tried to reassure the public that regulations regarding such schools are appropriate. The state recently changed regulations requiring such schools to notify the state government within 24 hours of any criminal charges against their staff.

Keith Jorgensen ran a qualified independent school based out of the bakery he owned in the Riversdale area. In his experience, government inspections are “perfunctory” and usually take him five to ten minutes, he said.

Jorgensen shared a 2015 letter from the Ministry of Education. This was a new addition to Saskatchewan’s independent school regulations at the time, and such schools may not use “straps, canes, or other physical objects” or “hands or feet.” This indicates that you are obligated not to do so. corporal punishment of children. Corporal punishment has been outlawed in all Canadian schools since 2004.

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The state government recently hired administrators to oversee the operations of three schools involved in the lawsuit, including Grace Christian School. The government said this week that Orboboken’s refusal to cooperate on the first day of her manager’s job led to Duncan revoking Grace Christian’s license.

Attorney Grant Scharfstein, representing Ericsson and other plaintiffs, told thousands of Saskatoon teachers on Friday that regulations regarding such schools are inadequate. Invited to speak at the Teachers Association’s 2022 Conference, he told the audience that such a school curriculum would not prepare students for the real world.

Saskatoon attorney Grant Scharfstein says various governments are not doing enough to protect children in eligible private schools.
Saskatoon attorney Grant Scharfstein says various governments are not doing enough to protect children in eligible private schools. Photo by Michelle Berg /saskatoon star phoenix

“The Saskatchewan Department of Education has let these kids down miserably,” Scharfstein said.

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He told reporters that he had copies of letters sent to the state from his parents at Legacy Christian Academy in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, but was unable to share them. Rejected.

“It’s not accurate for any government to sit there and say, ‘Well, we didn’t know anything about this.’ I was aware of,” he said.

More than 40 former Legacy Christian Academy students have filed a complaint with the Saskatoon Police Department.

Eirkusson used part of his speech to thank the registered public teachers and was greeted with a standing ovation.

zvescera@postmedia.com
twitter.com/zakvescera

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Ministry and police received complaints about schools closed years ago

Source link Ministry and police received complaints about schools closed years ago

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