Saskatoon school closed over abuse allegations: Department of Education

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SASKATOON-

The province has announced that Grace Christian School in Saskatoon has had its registration certification revoked.

In a statement, the Department of Education said Aug. 24 that the school’s principal, John Olubobokun, had refused to cooperate with the administrator appointed to take over the management and operations of the school.

“Consequently, the Minister of Education has canceled Grace Christian School’s Certificate of Enrollment in the public interest, as the Principal is a named defendant in the ongoing litigation,” the statement read.

Grace Christian School, Legacy Christian Academy and Regent Christian Academy in Prince Albert all had trustees appointed to oversee operations by the province, as each school employed people named in a lawsuit alleging abuse by former students.

“It was definitely the right thing to do,” former student Caitlin Erickson said. “It happened much later than expected, but you know, it’s a start.” “I was absolutely not surprised that John Olubobokun didn’t work with administrators because he was someone who never thought the rules applied to him.”

Erickson says it symbolizes a small start, but there is still a long way to go.

“There are two other schools that are still open that have not been regulated at this point, so this is just the beginning in my opinion,” she said. “It sends the message to them that they have to toe the line with the administrators or they will be next with their certifications withdrawn.”

“It’s wonderful that he doesn’t have a certification, but what’s to stop this man from successfully starting another school somewhere else,” said former student Stefanie Hutchinson.

“The most disturbing thing to me is that John Olubobokun has managed to start a school in Saskatchewan privately, which really speaks to the shortcomings Caitlin mentioned regarding the regulations governing these independent schools.”


Trial Update

Grant Scharfstein, who is representing the former students in the $25 million lawsuit, says all but three of the 21 people named in the lawsuit have received notices and class action certification is still three or four months away.

“Two, I think we found and we know where they are. The one, Keith Johnson, who was the founder of this school, is in Oklahoma, and we have a bailiff looking for him,” he said.

“Finding him was a bit difficult. If we can’t find him soon, we’ll get a court order for substitute service. Once it has been served and all the others have been served, we then ask the court for a judge to be appointed as the certification judge. Once this judge is appointed, we then set a hearing date to certify the action.


Saskatoon Teachers’ Association Convention

Erickson and Scharfstein were invited to speak at the 2022 Saskatoon Teachers’ Association convention on Friday morning.

“We asked Caitlin to join us today for a reason, so she knows she has the support of all of us, and that her brave and bold message that she is going to share with us today is something we need to learn from,” STA President John McGettigan said. “Teaching and learning is a very complicated and complex process and it requires professional standards, and the Saskatoon Teachers Association, Saskatoon Public and Catholic Schools, we hold ourselves to a very high professional standard and no school should only work with teachers who are not part of this profession.”

Education Minister Dustin Duncan was invited to speak at the convention, but did not show up.

“As a Saskatchewan parent and taxpayer, I am absolutely disgusted that the Minister of Education is not here today,” Erickson said. “There are 4,000 teachers gathered here today who are in the public and Catholic system here in Saskatoon, and our Minister of Education in this province is MIA. It’s not acceptable. These are the people on the front lines, and he needs to show integrity for the portfolio he currently holds.

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