Minister of Education Jeanie McLean has issued the following statement:
“The Yukon RCMP announced today that they have completed their investigation into allegations regarding the use of holds and isolation spaces at Jack Hulland Elementary School and are now preparing a comprehensive final report.
“While the conclusion of the RCMPs investigation represents a significant milestone in this investigation, which has been ongoing since November 2021, it does not yet provide families with answers.
“A sincere thank you to everyone who came forward to speak with police and share their experiences. I recognize the immense courage it takes to revisit and give voice to traumatic experiences.
“We are communicating directly with Yukon school staff, students, and families to address their questions and remind them of the free and confidential supports like counselling, resources and programs that are available. Information on supporting the wellbeing of students in school can be found at Yukon.ca/supporting-students.
“Over the past two years, our government has been working to bring about meaningful, systemic change at the Department of Education, improving accountability and oversight in Yukon schools with the goal of making schools safer for students. We continue this work. There is new leadership around the table at the Department of Education. The importance of fostering a safe and inclusive learning environment that nurtures the academic and personal growth of students has been communicated to all department staff. The education leadership team is working to support school staff in providing this environment.
“We continue to increase student support with new positions and student support initiatives, including the addition over the next three years of 81 new full-time student support positions (subject to legislative approval), and a $1 million investment in student support initiatives. We have developed and implemented the actions of the Safer School Action Plan, introduced a Values and Ethics Code for public servants and introduced Post-Incident Communications Guidance for schools across the territory. All Yukon administrators, teachers, and school staff have been trained on new policies and procedures for preventing harm to students as part of the Student Protection Policy, and Non-violent Crisis Intervention training sessions continue to be on offer to support educators and staff in managing student behaviours in a positive manner. We are reimagining inclusive and special education in the Yukon with the Ready-to-Learn initiative and improving Individualized Education Plans and experiential learning opportunities. We continue to enhance supports and training for educators and are implementing clear policies and processes that prioritize student safety, support and wellbeing.
“At Jack Hulland Elementary School specifically, we have enhanced teacher and administrator supports, including the addition of a Learning Assistance Teacher. In November 2021, school staff completed the Working Mind training, which provides supports in creating and maintaining a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. In February 2022, school staff were trained or re-trained in Non-violent Crisis Intervention, and in May 2022, a letter was issued to staff clarifying that isolation is never an acceptable practice to use with students, and that holds should only be used by persons trained and certified in Non-violent Crisis Intervention when there is an immediate risk or serious physical harm to the student or those around them.
“The Department of Education remains focused on supporting the Jack Hulland Elementary School community, and will continue to have conversations on how to move forward on our priority to create environments that are inclusive, built on student strengths, and ensure that every child feels connected and supported to thrive. We have prioritized the hiring of a School Wellness Specialist at the school, and are pleased that all active teaching and support staff positions at Jack Hulland Elementary School are filled for the 2023-24 school year.
“By working closely with parents, teachers, staff, and the community, we strengthen the supportive framework that protects our students. Every child's well-being matters and we stand united in our efforts to ensure that all Yukon schools are safe havens. Together with the whole school community, we create a foundation for lifelong success and well-rounded development.”