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School district to hire student assistant at Red Bay

Parents barred the entrance to Basque Memorial All Grade early in September to protest cuts to the number of teaching units.
Parents barred the entrance to Basque Memorial All Grade early in September to protest cuts to the number of teaching units. - Contributed

Students return to class but parents still have concerns

RED BAY, N.L.

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

CANADA

The Northern Pen has learned that the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) has decided to hire a student assistant following an assessment of Basque Memorial All Grade in Red Bay.

Students returned to class for much of the week of Sept 24-28 while the district assessed programming needs. The return to class came after three weeks of protest by parents.

The protests were reaction to the NLESD’s decision to reduce the number of teaching units at the school from 1.5 in 2017-18 to one in 2018-19.

The school has eight students this year, across five grades from kindergarten to Grade 8.

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Red Bay parent Vicki Hancock told The Northern Pen the children did not attend classes on Friday, Sept. 28, as the student assistant had not yet started.

But they were back to class on Monday, Oct 1.

The NLESD notified parents, in a letter, that a substitute student assistant would be on site on Monday, and the board would advertise for a full-time assistant.

“The school is eligible for five hours of daily student assistant support,” the board confirmed for The Northern Pen on Friday.

Parent Lynn Stone told The Northern Pen the parents felt this would alleviate their concerns for safety.

However, she feels a full-time teacher would be needed to resolve all their concerns.

“We still have grade 8 and kindergarten in the one classroom,” she said. “We still have one teacher teaching five grades, we still have a teacher teaching French with no French education or background.”

She said she feels felt the school board stuck a band aid on the problem.

Meanwhile, Hancock said the parents still have lots of issues with how the children are instructed, particularly whether they are being taught French.

stephen.roberts@northenrpen.ca

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