Reporting concerns: Parents should be heard – but there is a process!

Parents asking questions when they are unsure of something isn’t bad; parents expressing their thoughts about what their kids learn in the classroom is not bad either — we should encourage it and expect it. It’s one of the reasons why I think communication is so important.

However, the provincial government recently announced a website where parents can report ‘concerns about the curriculum currently being taught’.

Information submitted through this website isn’t shared with the individual schools, with principals, or even trustees . The website states that “Reports generated from this site are shared with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT), on a monthly basis.”

The OCT regulates teaching and “investigates complaints of professional misconduct, incompetence and incapacity” with regard to public school teachers in Ontario.

Now, if you are concerned about professional misconduct you should report it. But what rises to that level? And should the school boards be bypassed altogether? The OCT is there for a reason. But so are the school boards.

I think going straight to the OCT has the potential to do more harm than good and that parents should, first and foremost, address any concerns to their child’s school and the school board.

The College notes on its website “If a complaint does not relate to professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity or if it is frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of process, the Investigation Committee will refuse to consider or investigate the matter.”

Parents’ concerns should never be discouraged or downplayed. I want to see greater parental involvement and advocacy —it’s part of why I’m running — but going right to the body that disciplines and sanctions teachers is serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

I’m shocked that the Ford government has offered this option above others as a means for parents to express their concerns. Ignoring the principals, the school boards and elected trustees is wrong and doesn’t help the relationship between parents and teachers.