Teachers across the city staged peaceful pickets in front of their respective schools Monday during a one-day strike.
The walkout – part of rotating strike action around the province – took place on the first day of stage two job action by the B.C. Teachers’ Federation which is in a contract dispute with the province.
“I’m here to support the teachers…the composition of classes today sure isn’t what it was like when I was at school more than 30 years ago,” said Jim Sinclair, president of the B.C. Federation of Labour, who joined picketers in front of Carihi Secondary.
All students in the Campbell River School District, along with the North Island district, returned to classes on Tuesday. No further job action is planned for this week at local schools, but if the contract dispute escalates – with more teachers’ strike action and/or lockouts by the province – there will be consequences for students.
In his latest letter to parents and guardians, school district superintendent Tom Longridge expressed his concern for Grade 12 students.
“Understandably, (the May 22) announcement by the BC Public School Employers’ Association to lock out secondary teachers on June 25-26 has caused a great deal of concern about this year’s graduation ceremonies,” he wrote. “This is an important educational milestone for students and parents and School District 72 administration will ensure that the formal graduation ceremonies continue as scheduled.”
As od Monday, teachers are prohibited from being at school more than 45 minutes before and after class time, and they are forbidden from working during recess or lunch hour. In addition, all secondary teachers will be locked out on June 25-26, and both elementary and secondary teachers are to be locked out on June 27.
As a result of these latest directives, said federation president Jim Iker, extra-curricular activities could be cancelled and final exams for some senior secondary students will not be marked.
The teachers are asking for more money, smaller class sizes and more support for students with special needs.
To learn more about the position of the teachers, visit www.bctf.ca and for the provincial standpoint, visit www.bcpsea.bc.ca