Advocating for Your Child in the School System

Advocating for Your Child in the School System

The Right to Advocate

There may be times when you question whether your child is receiving as good of an education as they can within the current education system. If you have any issue with programs, services, or recommendations made for your child in their school, you have the right to advocate for your child. Parents and caregivers advocate to make sure that their children receive the education and services to which they are entitled. What follows is a process you can consider when you have concerns:

Is There an Issue?

It is important to identify issues and concerns early and work through them quickly to make sure your child is receiving the most appropriate education. If you are unsure whether there is a problem with your child’s education, ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • What is bothering me?
  • Why is it bothering me?
  • When did it start?
  • What will happen if I don’t solve the problem?

Becoming an Advocate for Your Child

If you choose to proceed with acting as an advocate for your child, you must keep in mind:

  1. The educational needs of your child, i.e. put your child first and set aside any personal issues you may have.
  2. Building and maintaining healthy working relationships with school staff.

When you are ready to speak to someone about an issue or concern, begin at the school level. Speak to your child’s teacher about the problem, and document conversations and concerns you have had with the teacher. Document if problems were resolved or not.

If problems were unable to be resolved between your child, yourself and the teacher, work your way up the chain of command. This chain would include the principal, the services personnel at the school division level and then personnel at the Department level. Most issues are able to be resolved at the local level between school staff and parents or caregivers. To maintain healthy relationships, and the most control over the problem, it is best to work through problems at the school level.

For more great tips on advocating and addressing problems between your child and their school, please read the following:

  • A Parent’s Guide to an Inclusive Environment handbook, available on the Community Living Manitoba website at: https://www.aclmb.ca/resources
  • Working Together: A Guide to Positive Problem Solving for Schools, Families, and Communities, available on the government of Manitoba website at:http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/specedu/problem_solving/index.html