Three Legacy Christian Academy alumni were at Sask. Legislative Thursday to request a new meeting with members of the government.
The private school in Saskatoon, formerly called Saskatoon Christian Center Academy, was the subject of a class action lawsuit in August when former students alleged sexual and physical abuse.
The students, Caitlin Erickson, Stefanie Hutchinson and Coy Nolin, spoke to reporters on Thursday and highlighted their difficulty speaking with government officials.
Erickson, who graduated from the school in 2005, said she tried to contact Premier Scott Moe’s office to have a discussion and raise some of the concerns they continued to have, but said they had not heard back.
“It’s about not having that happen again, not having a regulatory expiration, not leaving something unregulated for that amount of time,” she said. “It’s about kids who never go through the kind of things we’ve been through and we’ve had a lot of adults who have been in positions of authority and let us down over and over again,” he said. she declared.
“Sitting in the Legislative Assembly today feels like a rehearsal of that, listening to the comments made.”
Erickson said there is no new information on the court case, but hopes to get updates later this winter as attorneys work to get certified. She said all parties had received the statement.
During Question Period, Opposition Leader Carla Beck asked Premier Moe why his government did not act immediately when it heard of the abuse.
“What kind of leader hesitates and sits on his hands when it comes to the safety of our children? Why has it taken so long for the Prime Minister and his government to follow up on allegations of physical and sexual abuse? she asked. “Paddling and even exorcising in a public school in Saskatchewan?
Premier Moe said the department received a memo containing a number of names and allegations on August 9, 2022.
“I believe that the ministry, the same day, had provided these names to the Saskatchewan Professional Teachers Regulatory Board. It was on August 10, a day later, that the Minister for Education came to cabinet with a number of increased oversight regulations which he had asked to take forward to cabinet,” Moe replied.
Education Minister Dustin Duncan said the former students took the allegations to the police, not the department, and were notified on August 9, 2022.
Erickson said there should be no debate over the timing of the release and said she contacted the Department of Education on June 20, 2022.
Duncan said he was made aware of an email that said 22 students had filed a criminal complaint with police with a high level of allegations, which were passed on to the prosecution.
“When we get an email like this, we send it to the ministry to say we need a response,” he said. “I think the challenge was that because it was 2005 there was really no oversight and so the department would have had no record, certainly, of any complaint because it hadn’t been filed. with the ministry,” he said.
He said that around this time other stories were starting to come out and he was trying to figure out what, if anything, they would really know about this time period.
“The email didn’t say who the allegations were against and so we wouldn’t have had knowledge of, I guess, the situation around those complaints or the individuals because it was a time before it happened. be regulated,” he said. “He was trying to find out what we knew and how we could answer it and it was August 9 when we first received the civil suit when it was filed in court.”
Erickson said listening to Duncan in the Legislative Assembly was disheartening.
“Hearing him keep congratulating himself for closing Grace Academy was really disheartening because Grace Academy should never have been opened according to government regulations,” she said. “At that time, the person who started the school didn’t have a bachelor’s degree in education.”
“It’s a stark look at the seriousness of the loopholes in the legislation.”
Erickson told Legacy Christian Academy, a US-based textbook that is banned in several places, is still in use today. She also showed pamphlets they were using which she said contained sexist and inappropriate comics.
Former students have joined the NDP in challenging what is taught in some Christian textbooks. Love read a textbook he said is used in schools during Question Period on Thursday.
“This book says that the scientific evidence tends to support the idea that humans and dinosaurs existed at the same time,” Love said.
“Refers to the Loch Ness Monster as evidence that dinosaurs still exist today. This is taught in schools funded by this minister.
The government said the provincial curriculum is now followed with time set aside for denominational education.
“The provincial curriculum needs to be integrated, Mr. Chairman, in all those schools that receive funding, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Speaker, I hope the Department of Education officials are certainly familiar with the regulations,” Duncan said during question period.
Erickson said any topic they write about must come from an approved list.
“You would have been kicked out for questioning anything,” she said. “If you spoke negatively about school, there would be discipline.”
Duncan said he didn’t want to make the school look the same in 2022 as it was in 2015.
“Since 2012, the regulations have been modified. I have put in place regulations and measures to increase the level of surveillance that we are considering. If there are other measures to be taken, we are discussing them with the ministry,” he said.
“If there are additional changes that need to be made, we will make them.”
The government has appointed administrators in two Christian schools. The NDP says its findings and conclusions should be made public.