Solving Problems

 Here is a step-by-step process for parents to follow when they encounter a dilemma or a problem in our classrooms or schools:

  STEP ONE — Talk to your child’s teacher.
 Schools are no different than our communities at large and sometimes conflicts occur between students or even between teachers and students. It is important that parents share concerns with their children’s teachers and hear all sides. Sometimes issues in classrooms are more complex than they appear, while other times solutions are simpler than we might think.
  STEP TWO — Talk to your school principal.
 If conversation with the teacher does not bring about a solution, then talk to your school principal. Principals have the autonomy and authority to solve many different kinds of problems. As well, principals can provide access to resources and supports that can help resolve issues.
  STEP THREE — Contact the School Board Office
 If you feel you have thoroughly discussed your problem with staff at the school and you still have concerns, contact the School Board Office and ask to speak to one of the Assistant Superintendents. In some instances, the Superintendent of Schools can also be brought in to intervene in cases of significant problems, issues or conflict.
 STEP FOUR — Appeal to the Board
 SD73 has a policy allowing parents to appeal directly to the Board of Education in cases that “are deemed to significantly affect the education, health or safety of a student.” The full policy sets out the process and criteria for an appeal to the Board.
 STEP FIVE — Appeal to a provincial Superintendent of Appeals 
 B.C.’s School Act allows parents or students to appeal a decision of a Board of Education to a provincial Superintendent of Appeals in certain circumstances, as long as the matter falls within the scope of the Appeals Regulation and relates to:
  • Expulsion from an educational program;
  • Suspension from an educational program;
  • Suspension from an educational program where no other educational program is made available;
  • Distributed learning required as part of a disciplinary matter;
  • A decision not to provide a student with an IEP;
  • Consultation about placement of a student with special needs and the provision of an Individual Education Plan (IEP);
  • Bullying behaviours, including intimidation, harassment or threats of violence by a student against another student; or
  • Exclusion due to a medical condition that endangers others.
Other Options

As well, B.C.’s Teacher Regulation Board accepts written complaints “from any person from the public relating to the conduct or competence of a certificate holder.” Visit the TRB website for more information.

BC’s Ombudsperson also accepts complaints from the public regarding concerns about “unfair administrative decisions or actions, including lack of adequate reasons, unreasonable delay, unfair procedures, and arbitrary or unauthorised procedures.”


Further Information

The B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils has a guide for parents – Speaking Up! A parent guide for advocating for students in public schools.

 This guide provides a wealth of useful information and resources for parents about ways they can be productively involved in their children’s educational journey, including:

  • An outline of parents’ and students’ rights and responsibilities.
  • A guide to working through a problem.
  • An approach for dealing with parents’ fears.
  • Information about bullying/harassment.
  • Tools to help parents stay on track.
  • Information about the public school system.
  • Places to look for more help.

 "Public schools are the ideal place for our children to learn about democracy. We adults have the opportunity to demonstrate to children by example that dignity and respect are the cornerstone of any fair and equitable system.”

—Dulcie McCallum
Open Letter from the Ombudsman Fair Schools,
Report No. 35. May 1995 

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