VICTORIA — Julianne Doctor’s teenage daughter was distraught when she came home from school one day last week. To explain, the girl thrust a piece of paper from a school counsellor at her mother. After reading the document, Ms. Doctor was as devastated as her daughter.
Ms. Doctor was being asked to justify, in writing, why she couldn’t afford to pay the full $70 to share in the school’s hot lunch program this month.
“I had just written cheques for her school agenda, photocopying, workbooks,” the single mother with a low-income job explained in an interview. The fees totalled $129.50. “I got caught a little tight on the school lunch program.”
The public education system in B.C. is not supposed to present a burden to vulnerable families. According to a 2006 B.C. Supreme Court ruling, programs leading to a Grade 12 diploma should be provided free of charge.