Please see the attachment for the most recent update on the Strike from Superintendent, Tom Grant.
I wish we had more news to share with respect to a settlement between the BCTF and BCPSEA. Unfortunately, no progress has been made. You may have heard that the BCTF proposed binding arbitration as a way to a resolution. However, the government has declined this option. In binding arbitration, an independent arbitrator would look at the proposals on both sides and then make a decision about a settlement. This would be binding, meaning that both parties would need to accept the outcome from the arbitrator. So, we continue with the hope that the two parties will negotiate and agree on a settlement.
I’ve had several questions from parents about what will happen if the strike goes on longer than a couple of weeks. Here are some of the questions and my responses:
1. Will my child lose credit for the courses that start late?
a. No. We expect that teachers will make adjustments to their courses to ensure that students receive credit and completion.
2. Will the government cancel the provincial exams?
a. I don’t know. Last June, the government eliminated the written portion of the exams as a result of the strike. So, they can make adjustments to the exams if needed.
3. Will the school calendar change?
a. There are really 3 parts to this question. When we look at a change to the school calendar, we are talking about:
i. Changes to Christmas break, spring break, and summer
ii. Changes to pro- d days
iii. Changes to the exam schedule
At this time, there has been no indication that there will be changes. Obviously, the longer the strike proceeds, the more likely we will hear about conversations from the Ministry and Boards to determine whether a change to the calendar is necessary.
4. How long can the strike possibly go on for?
a. There is no definitive date that will end the strike. However, there are several key items that may contribute to an end sooner rather than later.
i. The Labour Relations Board deems that through the Essential Services Legislation, certain components of school must continue.
ii. The Ministry legislates teachers back (although they have said several times that they have no intention of doing this).
iii. The BCTF decides to de-escalate to a Phase 1 job action (although the union has not indicated that they intend to do this).
iv. There is significant pressure from the public to end the strike.
While I don’t have a crystal ball, I find it hard to believe that this can go on much past the end of September. My hope is that we see something happen in the next week or so to end this. Our Superintendent has provided a list of names in his letter of people to whom you can direct your letters and comments. The fact that our children (mine included) are not in school right now is disheartening. As parents, we have a right to speak up about this and share our thoughts with those who have the ability to change the outcome of this dispute. I would encourage you at this time to make your voices heard.
On a separate note, we received communication from the Ministry regarding sextortion of youth on-line. Below is an alert provided to schools to share with families:
In the past few weeks, Cybertip.ca has seen a rise in reports from youth involving sextortion. These cases have involved offenders (posing as teenagers) secretly recording teenagers exposing themselves online and then threatening to share the sexual content if they don’t pay money (often hundreds of dollars) to the individual.
In response to this emerging issue of concern, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection has issued a Cybertip.ca Alert for parents as well as a tip sheet on how parents can talk to youth about online extortion:
· Alert: https://protectchildren.ca/app/en/media_release_201409_sextortionists_teens
· Tip Sheet for Parents: https://protectchildren.ca/pdfs/C3P_SafetySheet_OnlineExtortion_en.pdf
We also encourage all parents to sign-up for Cybertip.ca Alerts to receive information on concerning technology trends as they emerge. Click here to sign-up: https://www.cybertip.ca/app/en/signup.
Riverside Secondary School