Statement from Minister of Education on the Yukon Ombudsman second report on their Hidden Valley investigation

by ahnationtalk on February 29, 202481 Views

February 28, 2024

Minister of Education Jeanie McLean has issued the following statement in response to the Yukon Ombudsman report part two on the 2019 Hidden Valley Elementary School incident:

“As the Minister of Education, there is nothing more important than the wellbeing, safety and protection of students when they are in our care. I am grateful to our staff and partners for their hard work in making Yukon schools safer. Over the past two years, this has been a significant focus of our government and staff have been working to streamline and clarify policies and processes designed to protect students and better communicate with families.

“We continue to work on key processes to keep children safe. Since we started the work of the Safer Schools Action Plan, over a thousand employees have attended training on identifying, reporting and supporting students in need of protection. This has resulted in more awareness and safer environments for all Yukon students.

“I extend my gratitude to all the organizations that have reviewed, reported on or made recommendations about the Hidden Valley Elementary School incident. We appreciate your collaboration on supporting the Department of Education to develop better processes. While we have made significant positive changes through the Safer Schools Action Plan, we know there is still more work to do to improve safety and security in Yukon schools.

“Our government has received and reviewed the Yukon Ombudsman’s second report on its investigation into the 2019 Hidden Valley Elementary School incident. The Government of Yukon is accepting, in principle, all eight of the Ombudsman’s recommendations.

“We are committed to continuing this work and we appreciate the recommendations provided by the Ombudsman in this latest report. The focus of the Ombudsman’s report is on the work of the Safer Schools Action Plan and the recommendations provided offer opportunities for us to strengthen and improve the work that has been completed.”

Quick facts

  • In response to reports of sexualized abuse at Hidden Valley Elementary School in 2019, the Government of Yukon received reviews from the Yukon Child and Youth Advocate, the RCMP, the Yukon Ombudsman, and an independent reviewer for the Department of Education, Amanda Rogers, and has accepted all the various report recommendations in principle and launched the Safer Schools Action Plan.
  • The Government of Yukon is accepting, in principle, all eight of the Ombudsman recommendations.
  • All 23 actions in the Safer Schools Action Plan are now implemented and are continuously being reviewed to ensure an adaptive improvement to their application over time.
  • The Government of Yukon will incorporate the recommendations from the Ombudsman into our continuous work to review and improve government policies and processes to making Yukon schools safer.
  • Ongoing work from the Safer Schools Action Plan to date includes:
    • implementing the training requirements as set out in the Student Protection Policy, and improving the training over time;
    • in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, the development of an introductory video to the Commit to Kids training that supports adults who interact with students as part of their role in school related activities with increased awareness, knowledge and tools to prevent, respond to and report suspected abuse, harm or any unprofessional conduct by an adult;
    • continuous review, modification and strengthening of the Student Protection Policy, Yukon School Post-Incident Communications Guidance and all associated processes and procedures incorporating feedback from schools, education partners, Yukon First Nations, committees and advisory groups and authorities for Yukon education;
    • strengthening multi-departmental cooperation in responding to critical incidents as our government gains experience using this new process;
    • examining opportunities to strengthen and streamline policies and procedures; Ensuring responses to incidents in a school setting are trauma-informed and victim centred;
    • work to form a Yukon Parent Advisory Committee to support identification of safety and wellness issues in Yukon schools so we can continue to make well-informed decisions to improve safety for all students in Yukon schools;
    • planning engagement with other government departments, partners, Yukon First Nations governments and other education partners to enhance prevention of and response to peer-to-peer harm;
    • evaluating how to better support schools, students, families, and our contracted school bus services to improve safety for all who ride school buses;
    • updates to our Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity policy; and
    • actively progressing work through the Reimagining Inclusive and Special Education initiative to ensure learning environments are inclusive and welcoming for everyone.

Media contact

Jordan Owens
Cabinet Communications


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