Tomorrow is a big day for Ontario families with autistic children. Conservative MPP Rod Jackson will be introducing Bill 102, Education Amendment Act (Blocker Pads). I’ve been invited to attend the first reading at the Ontario Legislature tomorrow and will be reporting on the proceedings right after they are over. I’ll also be live tweeting from inside the legislature…
My regular readers will probably remember my stories about the blocker pads. The Ontario Public Service Employees Union local 330 demanded that Educational Assistants (EA’s) at Simcoe County schools can use this martial arts gear so that they can protect themselves from Autistic kids who get agitated. The only problem is that this is not a routine way of dealing with Autistic kids- I’ve searched all over, and haven’t seen a single school that uses such tactics.
A school in Massachusetts introduced the use of electroshock weapons against autistic kids. It got so bad that the UN special rapport on torture got involved. Eventually, the school was told to stop using these weapons against the kids, and the principal was fired from his job and convicted of a crime.
The movement to introduce blocker pads was introduced by Sylvanna Petersen, the leader of OPSEU local 330. Petersen went overboard in her promotion of these weapons. As you can see in the above picture, she even showed-up to a demonstration wearing all-black while sporting a blocker pad and eye gear. The image she projected is the exact opposite of what Canadians would expect to see in our schools.
Luckily for the autistic kids, Sylvanna has left OPSEU and has moved on to joining the Nurse’s Union. But, the damage has already been done. Because of her insane crusade, a motion was proposed by the Simcoe County District School Board to ban blocker pads, but the majority of the school board cowered to the union. The school board is currently in a stalemate with OPSEU and the blocker pads will still be used this fall- the children and their parents are horrified.
Rod Jackson’s bill is important- not just to families with autistic children, but to all of us. Allowing the use of ‘non-lethal’ riot gear into our schools is the beginning of a slippery slope. What’s next? Should teachers in ‘rough’ schools be allowed to carry Tazer guns? How about the police, if we allow blocker pads in the schools, does this not make it easier for them to use riot gear against the people?
You can see where this is going…
I’ll write more on this subject tomorrow when I get back from the legislature. Until then, I’d like to ask people who agree with banning blocker pads to contact your local MPP and ask them to back this bill. A list of MPP’s & contact information can be found here.