Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Toronto students battle to save 'newcomer high'

Students at Toronto’s “newcomer high” are scrambling to file a human rights complaint as the board gets set for a final vote on whether to close down and move their one-of-a-kind school into nearby Danforth Tech.

The fate of Greenwood Secondary — which nurtures and educates newly arrived refugees and immigrants — will be decided by trustees at a meeting Wednesday night, and it is unclear how a human rights complaint could affect the board’s plans.

Greenwood was discussed at a committee meeting last week, but the two students spearheading the fight to keep it open say they could not attend because of Ramadan. They also say the board did not provide them with appropriate translators during a number of area review committee meetings, and that unlike students at other schools, their parents were not able to advocate for them because of language barriers and long working hours.

“We know that the last chance is with us, with a human rights case,” said Tolin Abuaziza, who said she and student council president Zahra Afshar plan to file as soon as their exams are over.

“This is the only school for newcomers and with help for newcomers. We are all hoping the same thing, we don’t want to move,” Abuaziza added. “Students now feel like nothing will happen, they have just kind of given up. They tried, but no one heard them.”  (more...)


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