Nelson District Teachers' Association president Tom Newell.

A step in the wrong direction for Nelson students

Without the measure of wisdom, patience is harder to grasp.

When you’re a kid, life is very much in the moment. Decisions seem much more daunting and experiences much more immediate. Without the measure of wisdom, patience is harder to grasp.

Though the dispute between the provincial government and the BC Teachers’ Federation has dragged on for almost a year, the latest development is going to wake students up to the reality of the situation. Last week’s vote by BCTF members to withdraw extra curricular volunteer activities is an unfortunate step that will result in students missing out on opportunities likely to be forever lost.

We are not assigning blame. The entire situation is a mess and leadership on both sides need to point a finger at themselves. Of course they won’t look in the mirror. Instead they will shout at each other and spew worn rhetoric while students suffer.

The goal of today’s education should be to provide kids with a well-rounded experience and help transform them into well-rounded individuals. Snatching away activities outside the traditional curriculum that provide moments students will remember long after their days in public school is a shame.

It’s telling that only 73 per cent of those BCTF members that voted agreed to their union’s next move. It’s an indication that there is a fracture when it comes to punishing students for adult misbehaviour.

Many teachers we’ve talked to are heavily torn. With the dispute turned so ugly, standing up for students in the hallways of our local schools is extremely uncomfortable. For those teachers who understand that opportunities for students are fleeting, disobeying the union is not really an option.

Students and parents appreciate the way teachers have soldiered on in the classrooms over the last few months. With the window of opportunity for the “extras” being so temporary in a student’s life, this latest step may be much harder to grasp.

It’s time for both sides to dig themselves out of their holes and do what is right for the students of this province. Patience is not a virtue yet learned by the kids of this community.


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