Students express concern

Student frustration is growing as the teacher’s strike continues to drag on.

Student frustration is growing as the teacher’s strike continues to drag on.

A recent letter from Trafalgar Middle School students to parents brought some of the affects to light.

“Due to the current job action and budget costs, field trips are very unlikely to happen… according to the job action, right now teachers are not permitted to help fundraise and organize non-educational field trips,” wrote the middle school students in their letter, adding that a recent field trip fundraiser had not met their needs.

“Considering the job action doesn’t affect our day to day lives at school, no one is complaining, but we the students would like to put a stop to it.”

The students are asking parents to email Minister of Education George Abbott to express their concerns as “voting citizens.”

The letter comes after six months of reduced teacher services at BC schools and at juncture where the Ministry of Education has appointed a fact finder to determine whether it’s possible for the two parties to come to a voluntary settlement.

“We’re waiting to see,” said Kootenay Lake School District superintendant Jeff Jones of the latest development.

“Trevor Hughes — the fact finder appointed by the ministry — must submit a report by February 23. What we’ll then know is if in his opinion there is the possibility of a conclusion to this… then we’ll look to some recommendations as to what the resolution might be.”

Jones said one of the main stumbling blocks at the bargaining table is the call for a wage increase over three years when other sector unions have agreed to deals that do not increase cost due to a net-zero mandate currently in the province.

Another of the BC Teachers Federation’s priorities in the job action is to improve teaching and learning conditions such as class size, learning specialist ratios and time for class preparation.

Despite the job action, Jones said students haven’t been impacted, but could some time down the road if it continues.

“The labour relations board has said that there are some services that aren’t considered essential, so the teachers have removed themselves from many of those services,” he said.

“The essential services are ones that they must perform and those are that they are teaching in the classrooms and that they are ensuring that our schools are still safe learning environments.”

Teachers are not attending staff meetings, collaborating with other teachers or administration staff, or reporting on student progress.

Jones said that with the teachers pulling back their services, many administrators have stepped up to perform a number of the services typically done by teachers.

“Principals and vice-principals have had non-stop supervision duties since the beginning of the school year,” he said, adding that many of them are not able to get to some of the work that they would have been doing to support the students

“It’s having a significant impact. Our administrators are sick more often because they’re just absolutely exhausted, we notice that their stress levels are higher, it’s making it difficult to do the work that they would normally be doing because they’ve taken up this.”

Jones said the administrators are also rescuing activities for students that were supervised by teachers in the past, but foresees that they won’t be able to do so for much longer.

“The district recognizes that teachers are working hard to teach on a daily basis in our classes, this isn’t about teacher bashing… Our teachers are doing good work and they’re focused on the work that they’re doing, but they have removed some services and it will have an impact on students over time,” said Jones.

“We are doing the very best we can in this district and parents should know that when their children are at school, they are in a safe learning environment and that we are continuing to teach children.”

Just Posted

RCMP: Appledale homicide investigation still active

A 59-year-old man was found dead on May 20

Brrrrring in the New Year with the Polar Bear Swim

Kootenay Co-op Radio teams up with local stewardship groups for annual dip

Nelson Community Food Centre celebrates with Festive Food Days

The idea is to share healthful, festive food over the holidays with people not able to afford it.

Kootenay-Columbia MP reacts to leader’s surprise resignation

The resignation of Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer caught members of his caucus by surprise

Kootenay-Columbia MP talks throne speech, USMCA trade deal

Rob Morrison to open constituency office in Cranbrook at 800C Baker St. on Dec. 19

VIDEO: These are the top toys this Christmas, B.C. toy experts say

Consider the play value of a game, staff at Toy Traders say

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Transportation Safety Board finishes work at B.C. plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Most Read