THUNDER BAY, ON: Following a two-day Emergency Chiefs Meeting on Education, Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) has developed an action plan to improve student safety and education outcomes for NAN students.
“Our children should not have to choose between their education and their safety, and many families are in fear of sending their children to school in Thunder Bay in September. We have developed a plan of action, at the direction of Chiefs-in-Assembly, which will be presented to families and students who are waiting to learn where they will attend school in the fall,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “Our students, their families and communities are facing challenges that need immediate attention. These concerns are reflected in this approach, which addresses immediate needs and longer-term goals.”
The action plan calls for the development of an Emergency Education Task Force to take immediate action to address the following issues:
- Identify immediate steps to address the safety and wellness of the youth attending school away from their home communities.
- Create an environmental scan of education facilities and services, and identify possible positive adjustments.
- Identify existing education options for high school students who decide to stay in their communities.
- Ensure resources are available to accommodate students who wish to continue their education in other urban centres.
- Create a Student Safety Plan with short-term measures to protect youth who come to Thunder Bay in September.
- Secure the mandate to develop and negotiate reverse-tuition agreements to allow all NAN First Nation students the option to attend NAN First Nation schools, and schools operated by NAN-affiliated organizations.
The meeting was held July 5-6 in Thunder Bay to address concerns raised by First Nations, students, parents and partner organizations regarding the safety of students attending school in Thunder Bay following several recent tragedies.