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'You are putting the student at risk’: Former teacher speaks out on out-of-scope practices at school

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Recent strikes by teachers in Saskatchewan have not only put pressure on the provincial government but have also emboldened educators to speak out about their experiences, shedding light on practices within schools.

Juliane Bell, a former teacher at John Dolan School in Saskatoon, reached out to CTV News to express her concerns.

She highlighted instances where teachers were tasked with responsibilities beyond their regular duties.

"I was being asked to do toileting duties, I was being asked to do lifting and transferring, and in a couple of cases I was being asked to administer daily medication," Bell said.

John Dolan School caters to students with complex needs, where staffing shortages in qualified nursing personnel have compelled teachers to take on roles beyond their expertise.

Bell's account mirrors sentiments echoed by the Saskatoon Teachers Association (STA), indicating that such instances are not isolated incidents.

According to Jessica Brown, President of the Saskatoon Teachers' Association, budget cuts have exacerbated the situation leading to increasing demands on teachers to fulfill responsibilities that should belong to other professionals within schools.

"We have definitely seen increasing numbers of cases like this where teachers are being asked to shoulder the burden and responsibilities that should belong to other professionals in schools, Brown said.

“What's happening is because of continued budget cuts."

Bell expressed deep concerns regarding student safety, emphasizing that such tasks, when undertaken by teachers, pose risks to students and fall outside the scope of their expertise.

"All of these things are not supposed to be tasks performed by teachers, so if you do it and something goes wrong, you are putting the student at risk." Said Bell

Both Bell and the STA encourage teachers who feel they are being asked to perform tasks beyond their scope to reach out to the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation.

Despite attempts to seek clarification from the Ministry of Education and the Saskatoon Public School Division, comments were not provided.

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