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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 101432
Experience:  Lawyer
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We live in Alberta. My daughter was on a school waiting list

Customer Question

We live in Alberta. My daughter was on a school waiting list for 2 years then got offered the spot. But the director changed his mind when I told him she needs extra help, just a few hours (3) a week like she is given at his current school. I do help her at home as well. she does not need any physical special setting: just a few minutes a day with a helper.
At first, after talking to the teacher's aid, they said they will accommodate that then changed their mind. My daughter is sad and I am even more devastated and don't understand why they would not accommodate her. What are my chances of winning in case I sue them for discrimination? It is a public school
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

Is this a specialized school in any way?

Will is this outside the area that you live in?

Why does she need to be on a waiting list for

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It is a Christian school witch is part of a public system. It used to be a charter school but is now part of a public school district.
The school is 3 minutes walking distance from the house.
She needed to be on the waiting list because it is a smaller school, with Christian education (not catholic). They can only have a number of kids per class and this year, there was a spot available for her.
I paid the registration fees and all but then they came back and few days later and said they cannot accept her even though they initially told us that the teacher's aid will be able to work with her.
I tried explaining that she doesn't get that much of help from her current school and we really want her to be in this school and will put in the effort required to participate.
I felt powerless and discriminated against.
I am not sure what to do. It feels like I cannot choose the school were I want my child to go to and have to just send her wherever there is a spot available, even if I don't like the school.
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

Before you were accepted at the school did you tell the school about your daughter's special needs?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No. She was not coded until after she was already on the waiting list.
I told that to the director and showed her her IPP.
She went on to talk to the teacher's aid, and told me they will be able to work with her.
A few days later, they changed their mind.
It is a good school and I really wanted my child to go there. But I now feel like a leper.
They said they will not be receiving additional funding. But all schools say that now. Funding has been cut for all school district. That's why we put in the extra effort to supplement the few hours she gets at her current school.
It's not like she needs someone working with her the whole day. She doesn't get that favor in her current school.
We visited the school and my daughter was really excited about the 'new' school.
I could not answer when she asked me why they changed their mind. I am very hurt.
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

So what was her explanation for first accepting her and then changing her mind? That is what I'm trying to out

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What are my chances in case I sue the school/district?
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

I am trying to figure out what has happened.

I don't think you will be able to sue the school board successfully but here are my suggestions.

If your child was accepted and they knew the whole story in terms of her IPP and what her needs were and then they turned around and changed their minds you have a strong case for pushing to get this rectified.

If they didn't understand what she needed in terms of the assistant until after they accepted her and that is because you didn't really give enough details you are not in a strong position.

Here are my suggestions. First, I suggest you go to the area supervisor for the school and explain what happened and essentially ask for help but make it clear that if you don't get what your daughter needs you will go higher and will retain a lawyer if necessary.

If that doesn't work you should approach your elected local school trustee.

If that doesn't work you should then retain a lawyer to take this up to the school board and then the ministry and threaten to sue.

And then if necessary you can have the lawyer seek a court order requiring the school to adhere to their offer and enrol your child.

You child has a legal right to an education and a legal right to having her special needs met so long as doing so does not cause the school to suffer undue hardship.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I will try these... Thanks
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

You're very welcome. Please let me know how this works out.