Extra work withdrawn by District 69 teachers

B.C. teachers vote to end volunteer work, as part of opposition to Bill 22

Deb Morran

Deb Morran

It’s hard to say what the withdrawal of B.C. teachers from extracurricular activities will look like in School District 69 (Qualicum).

Mount Arrowsmith Teachers Association (MATA) president Deb Morran said direction will be coming from local presidents in terms of voluntary activities.

“We will be providing clarification for members who are still not clear,” she stated on Friday, April 20 after members of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) voted 73 per cent to stop volunteering at their schools as part of an anti-government protest.

“The 73 percent was a decisive result and strong endorsement to oppose Bill 22. We are talking about activities that teachers would be doing beyond instruction duties and after hours,” said Morran.

She said that even includes lunch time volunteering.

It likely won’t derail official graduation ceremonies for Grade 12 students but Morran said there is a lot of work involved in grad ceremonies and they could very well be impacted.

She said at Kwalikum Secondary School in Qualicum Beach there are afternoon ceremonies for grads.

At Ballenas Secondary in Parksville, grad ceremonies in the past have been in the early evening so that may have to change.

“Those are some of the ramifications that administrators will look at. It is a huge organizational effort to run the event … with grads going up and knowing where to sit.  It is an intricate organizational piece and there is a lot of work involved.”

School Board Chair Lynette Kershaw said she is hoping that locally, the directive from MATA may be interpreted differently and admitted it is a shame the dispute over Bill 22 has come to this.

“From what I understand it is how firm MATA wants to be with enforcing the directive from the BCTF.”

She did confirm that Grade 12 students at Ballenas will not miss out on grad ceremonies.

“I talked to Don Boyd when this was in the forefront and he said staff has a plan B to move the event into the daytime hours,” said Kershaw.

She did express concern that a scheduled trip to Ottawa in May for band students at Ballenas and Springwood could be up in the air.

Students have been fundraising to go to MusicFest Nationals but Kershaw is hoping that because money has been paid and deposits made the band students will still get to go.

While it is still too early to know the full effects of the teachers’ vote in favour of protest actions against Bill 22, plans for some sporting events, theatrical productions, end-of-year dances, dinners, field trips and camping expeditions could be in jeopardy because there aren’t enough administrators to cover all of the events.