The following Op-Ed was released on May 2, 2023, by Glenn Tucker, Approved Candidate – One Bermuda Alliance

As a member of my party, I am committed to supporting reforms that will lead to a better public education system. However, it is crucial to take into consideration the impact of these reforms on all students, especially those with learning difficulties and those who are neurodivergent. 

For these students, sudden changes to their routines and environments can be especially challenging. They often require a consistent and structured environment in order to thrive academically and emotionally. It is imperative that we prioritize their needs and ensure that any changes made to our education system do not put their well-being and success at risk. 

I am deeply concerned about the potential impact of school closures on these students. If schools are closed, it is important for the Ministry of Education to work closely with parents and educators to ensure that students with learning difficulties and those who are neurodivergent are able to transition smoothly to their new schools and receive the support they need to succeed. 

This may require providing additional resources and training to teachers who will be working with these students. It may also involve working with transportation providers to ensure that students can safely and efficiently get to and from school, especially those who rely on public transportation. 

Moreover, many parents may have to bear the extra expenses to ensure their children attend their new schools, which may be located far from home. For some parents, this might not be a significant issue if they have their own transportation and if the school is located on the way to work. However, for those who rely on public transportation, this could lead to an extended school day and potential safety concerns for their children. 

Furthermore, we must consider the challenges faced by students with learning difficulties and neurodivergent in public transportation. Many of these students may require special accommodations or support when using public transportation, and we must ensure that such accommodations are available to them. 

Additionally, when students with learning difficulties and neurodivergent students move to a new school, they may face social and security challenges. They may find it difficult to make new friends or feel like they don’t fit in with their new classmates. This can lead to feelings of isolation and affect their mental health. We must ensure that these students receive adequate support to help them adjust to their new environment and make a smooth transition. 

We must also address the issue of safety and security for these students when they travel on a bus. They may be vulnerable to bullying, harassment, or abuse, and it is important that we take steps to ensure their safety. This may involve providing training to bus drivers and attendants on how to handle situations involving students with learning difficulties and neurodivergent, as well as ensuring that there are appropriate measures in place to report and address any incidents of bullying or harassment. 

In summary, school closures must be made with great care and consideration for the unique needs of students with learning difficulties and those who are neurodivergent. 

We must explore alternative solutions that could help to reduce costs without disrupting their education or putting their well-being at risk. By working collaboratively and prioritizing the needs of these students, we can ensure that our education system remains a source of strength and opportunity for all.