The Council of Commissioners of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board (SWLSB) issued a statement late last week saying it was appealing to the government of Quebec to allow refugee children who have a knowledge of the English language to attend English schools.
“The Charter of the French Language contains a humanitarian clause that allows for non-eligible children to be admitted in the English school system, under exceptional circumstances,” Paolo Galati, the SWLSB’s chairperson, said, while adding “there is no doubt that this humanitarian crisis qualifies as an exceptional circumstance.”
Quebec has already stated that the province would welcome Ukrainian refugee families with open arms and many school service centres and school boards have announced that they are willing to receive these children.
The SWLSB says it is prepared to take in additional students and teach them in both French and English, and it is willing to assist in the education of Ukrainian refugees.
“We ask that the government reconsider its decision and allow Ukrainian refugee children to attend English schools,” said Galati. “These families have been through enough trauma already. It would be unfortunate to deprive them of an English education if they already speak the language.”