Updated 8:52 a.m.: The originally-published quote in this article was incomplete. The quote has been updated.
FORT ST. JOHN (NEWS1130) – Critics are blasting a Liberal candidate in northern BC who made some controversial comments about special needs students in the school system.
In a recent all-candidates meeting, the incumbent MLA in Peace River North was asked if he thought there was a correlation between the degradation of the public school system and the increased enrolment in private schools/home schools.
Pat Pimm‘s response was:
“I think there is… We’ve certainly seen a decline in the public system. The public system since 2001, there’s been a decline of over 60,000 students. That’s a big decline. What’s driving that decline, I can’t honestly say. But I do think that there’s…… People don’t like to speak about this, so I’ll probably get in trouble for saying anything… When you’ve got special needs children in classes with other children, it does create some issues. I’ve heard that across the province, it causes some grief. How do you deal with that is a real hard question and it’s one that… is causing the teachers extra time and trouble and certainly, I think is causing some students to move into other areas in the private sector as well.”
The BC NDP and BC Teachers Federation seem to lead the charge in slamming Pimm; critics call his comments “insensitive” and “appalling.”
One comment on Twitter was even more pointed, suggesting the incumbent in Peace River-North was de facto admitting the BC Liberal government has under-funded classrooms with special needs kids in them.