The Ontario government has given Maggie an ultimatum: the disabled teen can lose her funding or her independence.
On Tuesday, the Liberals were scrambling to find a way out of the mess they had created after a video of a female TTC bus driver abusing a mentally disabled passenger went viral and sparked a series of angry protests.
But the fight isn’t over.
“We’re going to stand up and fight against all those who want to use their power and their privilege to bully and bully and bully marginalized people, and this is one of the most horrific examples of that,” Premier Ford said on Friday in response to the video.
“I’ve been in touch with the parents of this family. As a parent of five and I’ve been on the other side of bullying, I know that when you have students that are being bullied you’ve got to get them help as soon as possible.
“This is a clear case where the student was very, very much on the brink of losing her funding. And the government had a responsibility to step in and try to help her.”
On Wednesday, the government announced that it was re-opening the investigation into the incident on the TTC bus.
“This re-opened the investigation to look into the circumstances surrounding the circumstances of the incident,” said Toronto TTC spokesperson Brad Rossman. “It’s our wish, and we hope, it will answer questions for us, the students and their families, that we will need to revisit. Again the investigation is open.”
Maggie began seeing a psychiatrist when she was 10, after having struggled with a stuttering problem since she was born.
“She has been a patient of mine for a number of years,” said Dr. Nader Al-Alhamidi, the psychiatrist who works with Maggie.
Al-Alhamidi worked with Maggie and her family when they first began to see him more than a year ago.
“A lot of times kids who stutter are so embarrassed and afraid because they think others are judging them,” Al-Alhamidi said. “When they see other children who are non-stuttering they are more comfortable around them.”
The psychiatrist says that because of her stuttering problem, there were times when Maggie would spend entire days out of her bedroom in the bathroom.
When she began kindergarten in 2005, there was a lot of