School’s out, again

  • Jun. 4, 2014 6:00 p.m.

No school Thursday! Teachers on Haida Gwaii and in 15 other school districts will be on the picket lines for the second time, as the BC Teachers’ Federation rotating strikes return.Teachers here manned the picket lines for the first time during this strike on Wednesday May 28, shutting down schools in School District 50. The rotating strikes are designed to pressure the government “to reach a reasonable deal on issues like class size, composition, staffing levels and fair wages for teacher”, according to the BCTF.Here on the islands, the school board decided to cancel recess in schools effective last Friday (May 30). The cancellation is a result of the teachers’ strike, which puts an extra burden on district staff, according to the district, as teachers have not been supervising recess since their job action began April 24.”We knew this was coming, job action is ongoing, the conflict has intensified on both sides”, Superintendent Angus Wilson said, “the decision is based on having fewer principals (available for supervision than during past strikes).””It’s a difficult decision but I do support it,” Masset trustee Sharon Matthews said, “it’s difficult for the children.A few weeks after the teachers’ job action started, Mr. Wilson said principals and other staff were putting in much longer days that usual, and couldn’t sustain doing so much longer.During the last teachers’ strike in 2012, the board cancelled recess only after about six months of job action, but since then has cut the number of principals and other staff available to supervise recess.Grad events are not affected. They will be held in Queen Charlotte on Saturday and Masset one week later. School will finish for the year on June 18.

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