Bear Witness Teddy Bear event at Langley Meadows

May 9, 2018

The entire school joined in parade on May 10, holding a banner calling for equal health care for children. They made two laps around the school’s field.

Students from around the school also prepared letters which will be mailed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Each letter contains a loonie and a call to action to use the loonie to improve health care for aboriginal communities.

Bear Witness or “Bring a Teddy to School” Day is on May 10th.  We are planning school-wide participation at Langley Meadows Elementary as part of our Social Justice and Aboriginal Education curriculum. This event will provide students with the opportunity to make personal, meaningful connections to important social issues in Canada in a child-friendly way. Taking part will also allow the children to make an important contribution to fair and equal treatment for all children in Canada.

Jordan’s Principle is named after Jordan River Anderson, a little boy born with complex health issues. Jordan began his life in hospital and had to stay there until doctors felt he could be cared for at home, with additional medical help. Tragically, the provincial government and the federal government could not agree on who should pay for Jordan’s care after he left hospital. This was only an issue because Jordan was Aboriginal – this would not have happened to a non-Aboriginal child. The result was that Jordan had to stay in hospital until a decision was made and, in fact, stayed in hospital until he died because the two governments couldn’t agree. He was only five years old when he died and he never got to spend a single day in a real home.

A very brave, caring woman, Cindy Blackstock, and an organization she helped create (The First Nations Caring Society), decided they had to do something. They knew this should never happen to any child, Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal. Ms. Blackstock and her group decided to take the government to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and fight for the rights of children like Jordan. After a very long, drawn out court case (about nine years!), the Tribunal passed a ruling that is now called Jordan’s Principle. This ruling states that the government of “first contact” with the child will pay for her/his care. The hope (and law) is that Aboriginal children will receive the same interventions and health care as non-Aboriginal children in Canada. Unfortunately, this is still not always happening.  We are encouraging our students to add their voices and take action to insist all children receive fair and equal health care.

Teddy Bears are used to celebrate this day because Jordan loved teddy bears. The students of Langley Meadows brought a favourite teddy bear to school on Tuesday, May 8th to decorate them on Wednesday. Through their decorations, students will be asked to honour and remember Jordan, and use their teddies as a way to add their voices to the call for equitable health care. Thanks to a grant from the B.C. Teacher Federation and Langley Teachers’ Association, the school will provide all the beads, elastic string, and buttons needed to create special bracelets and necklaces for the bears.

Langley Meadows will be having a Teddy Bear Parade on Thursday, May 10th at 1:00 p.m. before early dismissal at 1:25.  Please feel free to join us, we would love to have you!  If you would like more information on this initiative, you may want to view the following video: