Teachers’ dispute ‘completely chaotic’

SURREY – The second day of teachers’ rotating strikes has landed in Surrey, Delta and White Rock and it seems as if the effect on students is growing by the day.

 

While it was unknown what exactly was going to be affected when the teachers’ job action and the government’s partial lock out first came into effect, this week the picture is becoming clearer.

 

One English teacher at Tamanawis said she had to kick three students out of her class when the lunch bell rang, despite them not having finished writing their tests.

 

"Most of them were pretty close to being done but if it were a regular day I would have let them keep writing," said Kasha Duff, who tweeted education minister Peter Fassbender about the job action. "Instead I told them I had to leave at 11:30. I warned them all before but they still went over and I wasn’t allowed to stay there."

 

Elsewhere, Surrey Teachers Association President Jennifer Wadge has heard of field trips and extracurricular activities being cancelled while teachers in other schools are being told to carry on as usual.

 

"Last Friday I received notice from two sites where the principal came to teachers telling them to cancel field trips," she explained. "Those included a Grade 7 camp that was going to be an overnight camp and the other was over concerns about liability or administrators taking over saying teachers shouldn’t be attending."

 

At other schools in the district, administrators are taking a different approach.

 

"Nobody seems to know what’s going on with this lockout," said Wadge. "Some schools’ principals are telling teachers to cancel activities but in others principals are saying ‘Don’t worry about the lock out, just do what you would normally do.’" The confusion comes after the B.C.

 

Teachers Association President Jim Iker claimed the province’s partial lock out measures would impact students and events, as well as bar teachers from attending grad ceremonies. Additionally, teachers are being asked not to interact with students during recess and lunch, not to arrive or leave more than 45 minutes before or after school and a 10 per cent reduction in pay. The pay reduction is being disputed before the Labour Relations Board.

 

In contrast, the BCSPEA chief negotiator Peter Cameron has said teachers are free to do whatever they want in their free time, including attending grad ceremonies and

 

continuing with extracurriculars.

 

In Surrey, district superintendent Jordan Tinney said graduation ceremonies would go ahead as planned but Wadge isn’t sure if teachers will be able to attend.

 

"Grad ceremonies can go ahead but teachers won’t be participating," said Wadge. "Despite the ministers’ assurances that we’ll be covered by WCB and liability, our advice to members is to still be very cautious and so we’re telling people not to be on district premises during lockout hours.

 

"So if the grad ceremony is happening in an evening at a school they shouldn’t attend and for a lot of teachers that’s really hard. They’ve known these kids for five or six years but they won’t be there to see them graduate because of this."

 

And now, with the second week of rotating strikes underway, Wadge said how the school year’s end will turn out is still anyone’s guess at this point.

 

"Peter Cameron says one thing, Peter Fassbender says another, the district says this and we hear something else," she said. "It’s completely chaotic."

 

In response to the ongoing labour dispute, some secondary students across B.C. may also take part in a self-organized walkout to protest being caught in the middle of the dispute.

 

According to the BC Student Walkout for Students Facebook page, "This has been going on far too long (thirteen years too long) and the students are the ones losing out, all because adults cannot get along…It is time that student education really did become the first priority. We are tired of getting the short end of the stick."

 

cpoon@thenownewspaper.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

OBITUARY: Sherrold Haddad brought giant Canadian flag to Surrey car dealership, built community

‘An amazing man, business person and community leader,’ friend Bruce Hayne posted to Facebook

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

MARCH 28: Delta council passes bylaw to fine people who don’t socially distance

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Blue ribbons popping up along streets in Abbotsford in praise of B.C. healthcare workers

Healthcare worker’s family starts local trend of morale support

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

Most Read