Yukon NDP calls for government accountability on the Hidden Valley scandal

Whitehorse – Yesterday, the Yukon Government released an independent review of their response to sexual abuse at the Hidden Valley Elementary School. This report highlights systemic failures within the department to act on the severity of the situation, as well as the Minister’s lack of interest in the matter.

“The successive governments have left the Department of Education in shambles. Sadly, this level of systemic and repetitive failures comes as no surprise,” said Kate White, leader of the Yukon NDP.

The report clearly states that “YDE had a responsibility to inform parents of this serious incident” as well as “the mere fact that the RCMP had commenced a criminal investigation did not absolve the YDE of the responsibility to communicate with parents”.

The report also highlights that the first abuses went undetected because the perpetrator blamed his lack of experience working with vulnerable children and his lack of training as an excuse for concerning behavior.

“We’ve not only heard from the report, but also parents, schools and EA’s alike that school staff are lacking the specialized training and knowledge they want and need about special education, and that more supports, funding and training are needed. It speaks volumes to the failure of successive governments to listen to parents and educators about what is needed to improve our education system,” said White.

Successive reports – such as the Auditor General’s report, and the review of special and inclusive education in Yukon – have repeatedly told the government that the Department of Education was failing families, children and educators.

“The report is clear– in 2019 and in 2021, the government failed parents and failed children. We know that proper supports are not in place, we know that counselors are needed and physical changes need to be implemented in all Yukon school. The government knows as well – when will they act?”  said White.