Field trips cancelled as Delta teachers ramp up job action

Field trips cancelled as Delta teachers ramp up job action

DELTA — Delta teachers are ramping up their job action by cancelling participation in field trips for the remainder of the school year.

Delta Teachers’ Association president Paul Steer confirmed the move Wednesday.

Teachers across the province launched the first phase of job action last week after 72-hour strike notice was issued to all public school districts. It meant teachers wouldn’t be going on a full-scale strike and shutting down schools, but they are withdrawing from certain administrative duties. Teachers stopped meeting with administrators, won’t engage in written communications with administrators and will not undertake student supervision during non-instructional time.

Steer told the Optimist Delta teachers had been participating in field trips, especially ones that had been planned well in advance of the initial job action. However, due to the possibility of escalating job action before the school year ends, teachers have been advised to no longer participate.

He said the directive removes any uncertainty for students and parents in the event teachers move to the second phase of job action.

A number of school districts, but not Delta, decided to cancel recess, a move the B.C. Teachers’ Federation claimed was unnecessary, saying staff are more than capable of supervising the playground for 15 minutes each day.

In the meantime, classroom teaching in the current phase is continuing as usual and report cards will continue to be issued.

The BCTF said it began job action in response to disappointing progress at the negotiating table, where the government and employer’s association have not backed off from what it deems as unfair and unreasonable demands.

Steer said teachers are frustrated that after a year of bargaining, government remains unwilling to acknowledge that classes across B.C., including those in Delta, have never been larger, or more challenging in their composition.

"Teachers cannot do this work alone; we rely on the support of not only the parents of the kids we teach, but from the broader public, people who may not benefit directly from public education, but who benefit indirectly, in so many ways," he said.

"Delta public schools are part of a virtuous circle of community services which contribute so much to the greater good of everyone in society. Students attending Delta public schools learn to read, write and get along well with others and to become active, involved members of the community. As a result, most are able to leave school ready for further education and training, or ready to enter the workforce as individuals trainable and ready to make a positive difference wherever they go," Steer added.

The Delta district hasn’t confirmed the DTA decision means the cancellation of all field trips, but the district has cancelled an emergency release drill that had been scheduled for next week.

When the BCTF issued strike notice, Education Minister Peter Fassbender said, "It’s a little disappointing but not at all surprising. Over the past few weeks, it appears the BCTF has been more focused on implementing its strike plan than bargaining at the table."

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