Saskatchewan’s minister of education says he will appoint an administrator for three independent schools in the province.
The action comes in the wake of abuse allegations from students of a private Christian school in Saskatoon.
Former students of the Christian Centre Academy, now called Legacy Christian Academy, launched a class action lawsuit earlier this week, alleging years of physical, emotional and sexual abuse by staff and leadership at the school and adjacent church.
On Thursday morning, Minister Dustin Duncan spoke on CBC’s The Morning Edition, his first public interview on the topic since CBC Saskatchewan broke the story. He told host Stefani Langenegger that cabinet has approved giving him more authority over independent schools.
He also said he will be appointing a private administrator for three schools: Legacy Christian Academy, Grace Christian School in Saskatoon and Regent Academy in Prince Albert. All of them were notified Thursday morning, he added.
“The [former] regulations did not allow for me to step in and, for instance, appoint an administrator or a trustee,” Duncan said.
“Those three schools will now be receiving, on top of an administrator, … they will be subject to 10 unscheduled visits by the ministry.”
The Morning Edition – Sask16:45Sask. education minister appoints a special administrator to run 3 private schools
According to Duncan, the administrator will be appointed for these three schools because they all currently employ someone named in the recent lawsuit by former students.
The three schools will be subject to an unscheduled visit once per month, and the province will be increasing the number of unscheduled supervised visits to all independent schools in the upcoming school year.
“Until now, independent schools were not required to notify the minister when they became aware that they were subject to a criminal allegation, or a criminal investigation had been opened on either a school or an individual working at the school,” said Duncan.
“The regulations that were put in place in 2012 enhanced the regulatory oversight that didn’t exist prior to 2012. I’m acknowledging that there are gaps and we have fixed those gaps and that is now in place.”
As of Thursday, all qualified independent schools in the province must notify the Ministry of Education within 24 hours if they face allegations of criminal activity or a criminal charge affects a staff member, according to a news release.
Duncan also now has the ability to put schools on probation.