School trustee calls for Victor School to be removed from catchment review

School trustee calls for Victor School to be removed from catchment review

WATCH: There is growing concern that a proposed catchment change could leave some special needs students without proper support. As Kori Sidaway tells us, it’s now caught the attention of a local school board trustee.

Gord Robbins proudly shows off photos of his two little boys.

“This is one of my favourites,” said Robbins.

“A lot of these pictures show how happy and healthy he can be.”

His 13-year-old son Jake has a cerebral palsy, seizure disorder and autonomic dysfunction, meaning his temperature can drop fatally low at any time, leaving every day uncertain.

“He might live to a great old age, but we don’t know,” said Robbins.

“So while we have Jake we have to ensure he has the best possible life we can provide him and school is obviously a big part of that.”

But that bedrock of school may be shifting from underneath them.

Facing a growing number of student enrollment, the Greater Victoria School District is proposing Jacob’s inclusive learning school be re-purposed into an elementary school.

But the proposal didn’t offer a concrete answer as to where the students of Victor School would go. Other students could be phased in or Victor School students could be moved to a new purpose-built facility, one that has no plans in the making.

“They would be trading his life for essentially what would amount to a space, and that’s just not something I envisioned for his future,” said Robbins.

And at least one district trustee is now saying, the plan should stop in its tracks.

“We can’t just look at this as a numbers issue,” said Ryan Painter.

“We have to look at the stories that exist behind these numbers. These are the most vulnerable students in our district, we need to consider them especially as important distinct unique members of our broader school community.”

Painter is set to put forward a motion Tuesday in front of a board committee calling for Victor School to be removed from the catchment review process.

“What I saw was really needed was a refresh for Victor to kind of set Victor aside and run parallel to our full catchment review process,” said Painter.

“So that parents can really see that we take this seriously and we take this as a serious issue.”

Painter says the decision wouldn’t change the integrity of the current consultation process. If the committee doesn’t pass the motion, Painter will bring it in front of the full board next week.

And for families like Jacob’s whose day to day lives are precariously balanced, it’s might be the stabilizing force they need for now.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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