For Immediate Release

April 14, 2016

Don’t close Robarts school for the Deaf

QUEEN’S PARK – Today in the Legislature Ernie Hardeman, MPP for Oxford, asked the Minister of Education for a commitment to keep Robarts School for the Deaf in London open so it can continue to help students.

“Robarts School for the Deaf in London provides life-changing support for kids who are deaf or hard of hearing,” said Hardeman during his statement. “But this morning the Minister of Education once again refused to commit that Robarts and these essential provincial schools will stay open.”

This morning the PC Caucus used the entire question period to ask for a commitment to keep these schools open and provided examples of children who would be impacted if the government closes Robarts School for the Deaf and the demonstration schools, which provide assistance to students unable to read due to a learning disability. The Minister of Education refused to commit that the schools would stay open.

In the statement Hardeman talked about Jaya, a four-year old from Woodstock, who has started attending Robarts School for the Deaf.

“I’ve met with her mother who talked about the difference the school has made to Jaya and the difference the support has made to their family. But she’s only four and she needs the school for many years to come,” said Hardeman. “Her mother has written to the Minister of Education and the Premier begging them to keep the school open – and yet she has been left to live in fear.”

Lalita Tamburri, Jaya’s mother was at the Legislature along with hundreds of parents to ask the government to keep the schools open.

“We need a commitment that Robarts School for the Deaf will stay open for the long term,” said Tamburri “They don’t teach ASL as a critical language at public schools. There is no ASL curriculum. Deaf schools are the only place that deaf kids can get critical language skills like every other child in Canada.”

The Robarts School for the Deaf was established in 1973 and serves deaf and hard of hearing students from counties of Oxford, Essex (including the city of Windsor), Lambton, Kent, Elgin, Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk, Grey, Bruce, Perth, Huron and Middlesex (including the City of London).

“I am asking the government to give students like Jaya a chance to succeed,” said Hardeman. “And I’m asking them to end the fear for these families and commit that Roberts School for the Deaf and the other provincial schools will stay open long-term.”

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For more information, contact:

Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford

(416) 325-1239