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“Women’s Court of Canada” – supports Inclusive Education!
The Women's Court of Canada is a collective of lawyers who have re-interpreted and challenged 6 key court decisions, in an attempt to encourage better understanding of equality rights.
Your honour, we respectfully disagree:
One of the cases they chose was the Supreme Court of Canada's decision regarding Emily Eaton.
The Toronto Star summarized the Women's Court legal opinion thus: "a constitutional presumption of integrated education is necessary for two reasons. First, it is required to counteract the historic legacy by which segregation has been a sign of inferior status. Second, it is necessary to place an onus on the state to make the integrated educational environment genuinely inclusive, to meet the diverse needs of all students.
In short, substantive equality requires the fundamental transformation of the traditional mainstream classroom to ensure that the different supports that different children need are available. "
Here is what they had to say about the Eaton Case.
EATON V. BRANT COUNTY BOARD OF ED
The issue in this case is whether a decision of the Ontario Special Education Tribunal confirming the placement of a disabled child in a special education class against the wishes of her parents violates her equality rights.
The Supreme Court ruled that the board of education’s removal of the child from an integrated classroom was in her best interests, and therefore did not contravene the Charter.
The court concluded that if special assistance is not available in integrated classrooms, students in need of such assistance are better off in special classes where it is available.
In contrast, the Women’s Court finds that the “best interests” defence is not consistent with equality. We hold that in rejecting the presumption that Emily Eaton had a right to be educated in an integrated classroom, with the assistance she needed in that setting, the Supreme Court showed more concern for the interests of able-bodied children than those with disabilities.
This is inconsistent with the Charter’s equality guarantee. We find that a constitutional presumption of integrated education is necessary for two reasons. First, it is required to counteract the historic legacy by which segregation has been a sign of inferior status. Second, it is necessary to place an onus on the state to make the integrated educational environment genuinely inclusive, to meet the diverse needs of all students.
In short, substantive equality requires the fundamental transformation of the traditional mainstream classroom to ensure that the different supports that different children need are available.
From The Toronto Star:
Your honour, we respectfully disagree
Mar 08, 2008 04:30 AM
This week marked the launch of a unique initiative in pursuit of equality rights: the Women's Court of Canada.
The brainchild of several prominent women lawyers and scholars, the court seeks to interpret Canadian law through a more nuanced lens that considers the different circumstances faced by women and other "disenfranchised groups." University of Toronto law professor Denise Réaume, a founding member of the Women's Court, said it argues that any legal judgment "is the product of interpretation." It identified six controversial decisions – four condensed here – that it believed failed to deliver on Canada's "promise of equality" and has rewritten the decisions. The court celebrated the release of their decisions this week at a legal conference in Toronto.
For the full story – check the article in The Toronto Star
Below is a letter that appeared in the March 4, 2008 edition of the Daily Gleaner – Fredericton, NB.
Krista Carr, Executive Director of the New Brunswick Association for Community Living takes issue with a suggestion of Bernard Richard, NB Child and Youth Advocate, that the Province consider the establishment of a residential school for children and youth with what are called “complex needs”.
Click HERE to read the Letter...