Disability Groups Bitter About Supreme Court Decision

For Immediate Release

October 9, 1996

In an Ottawa courtroom this afternoon, a small contingent of co-intervenors in the Brant County School Board versus Clayton and Carol Eaton case, barely contained their disappointment on hearing the Supreme Court Justices three-sentence decision. "The appeal is allowed with costs," it said. "The judgement of the Court of Appeal is set aside and the judgement of the divisional court is restored. Reasons to follow." From where they sat, the decision could not have been less welcome.

Said Gordon Fletcher, a People First Board Member from Trail, in attendance, "I can't understand this. If Emily Eaton is now thriving in a different school-board's integrated classroom setting, why is this court saying she shouldn't be taught with her peers? At People First, we believe in integration."

Hugh Scher, Toronto Lawyer and CCD Human Rights Committee Chairperson, points out that little can be said as to what the decision means until the Court hands down its written reasons. "Depending on what is said there, we could be reverting back to the 1950's if a separate but equal education for persons with disabilities is accepted as it was for people of colour in the United States.

Scher's group, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, co-intervened with three others: People First of Canada, the Canadian Association for Community Living and Confederation des Organismes de Personnes Handicapées (COPHAN). The Coalition's purpose was to educate the court and the public about the importance of the integration process to provide persons with disabilities with the values, skills and opportunity as other students in our classrooms. We also wanted to address the stereotype and prejudice that often effects board decisions regarding the placement of students with disabilities in our schools

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Hugh Scher, 416-515-9686 (w) - 416-222-3590 (h)
Peter Park, 613-236-1133
Julie Stone, 506-325-4732 or 506-575-8312
Janet Budgell, 416-482-8255
David Kent, 416-865-7143