Letters: It is unfair to compare childish Saskatchewan MPs with students

“I am offended to compare the behavior of high school students to the gibberish and crude behavior of the House.” —Ruth Robillard

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Regarding the April 30 letter in the Leader-Post from Kishore Visvanathan addressing the behavior of our “leaders” in the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly:

It has been a long time since I took students to legislative debates, where one would hope that the students would be informed of “parliamentary procedures” and hear informed and intelligent debate.

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However, reading Visvanathan’s letter, I am offended to compare the behavior of high school students to the gibberish and boorish behavior of the House. Never have I not seen and heard this kind of speech and nor have I seen such behavior from students in secondary school classes.

Teachers work in the best interests of students – without hidden personal agendas. Students react accordingly.

Then they should return to their “parliamentary” workplace where, as Visvanathan writes, there is indeed “booting and chattering at the slightest provocation, and bullying of the less popular children.” They are adults. There will never again be a visit to a legislative session for my classes to witness leadership at its worst.

Ruth Robillard, Regina

Optimism for more speech experts is tempered

The recent announcement that the University of Saskatchewan will train 40 master’s-level speech-language pathologists each year, starting in 2028, appears to be a promising step in addressing the pressing needs of children with communication disorders in our province.

However, my optimism is tempered by a sad reality. Currently, Saskatchewan is facing a critical shortage of pathologist positions, with only 120 professionals available to serve nearly 190,000 students.

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This glaring deficit highlights the critical need for speech-language pathologists to meet the complex learning needs of children. Despite this urgency, only four pathologist vacancies are currently advertised on school division websites.

Although concerted efforts are made to fill various educational roles, speech-language pathologist positions often remain vacant or are subject to budget cuts. It is notable that current online platforms do not display any vacancies for school speech therapist positions, despite the nominal cost.

The impending influx of University of Saskatchewan graduates raises the question: once existing vacancies are filled, where will subsequent cohorts go? Will these highly qualified individuals be forced to look for opportunities beyond our borders?

For more than four decades, speech-language pathologists in Saskatchewan schools have been confined to consultation roles, unable to provide direct therapeutic interventions.

As a result, the transformative impact they can have on children with autism, language disorders, apraxia, stuttering, cleft palate, and selective mutism remains largely invisible. Although I hope that the next decade will see the creation of hundreds of much-needed positions, the reality remains uncertain.

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My thoughts are with the countless children who urgently need help, whose futures hang in the balance.

Cheryl Turner
(Turner is a retired speech therapist.)

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