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Snap decision by board comes without consultation or correct process: program supporters

YORK REGION, ON – York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) is planning on axing a popular Italian language and culture program that currently runs in 23 of its schools and critics charge the decision was made without consulting families, students, instructors, or the group that has supported the program for over 35 years.

Nearly 9,000 Vaughan students are currently enrolled in the Italian-language classes, which are integrated into the school day at 23 YCDSB schools. The instruction is supported financially by Centro Scuola e Cultura Italiana in the order of $250,000 each year.

The board proposes to move students’ lessons to Saturdays, without explaining how it will house 9,000 students on the weekend or how the programme’s success can be guaranteed when it is not part of the regular school day.

“We were shocked to learn about the board’s arbitrary decision to eliminate Italian-language classes,” said Elena Di Nardo, President of Local 2331.01 and 2331.02 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents the Italian-language instructors at YCDSB schools.

“How can the Director of Education pretend that it is a fair or considered decision when it has been taken without any consultation, discussion or debate? It’s outrageous.”

Di Nardo and the programme’s instructors are urging parents and students to call YCDSB trustees and Director of Education to voice their concerns and to insist on a public debate and discussion at its next meeting.

“Just as there are incalculable benefits to learning another language, there will be incalculable harm caused if a program like this one is eliminated so brutally – harm to students, parents, instructors and to all those who want to preserve Italian language, culture and heritage,” she concluded.

For more information, please contact:

Elena di Nardo
President, CUPE 2331.01-02

Mary Unan
CUPE Communications