While students in the district are out on spring break, teachers across the province and in Prince Rupert continue to discuss how to move forward with the passing of Bill 22 and the ongoing contract dispute.
The BC Teacher’s Federation will announce at one p.m. today how it plans to respond to Bill 22 following an AGM that included six teachers from Prince Rupert and 700 from across the province. After class on Monday, local teachers will meet at the Fisherman’s Hall to discuss what the decision means for Prince Rupert, though Prince Rupert District Teacher’s Union president Joanna Larson has call for “teachers’ commitment to stand up for students and for education, whatever threats we may face”.
“Things have been getting worse for students since Christy Clark illegally removed teachers’ rights to negotiate classroom limits in 2002, especially in Prince Rupert. The erosion of composition limits, in particular, has meant that teachers more often have had to choose who in the class to help – it’s a terrible choice when we see many students need it, and of course even those who are not struggling deserve more of our time,” said Elliot Fox-Povey, a teacher at Prince Rupert Middle School.
“Now Bill 22 has removed what few limits remained – it’s the last straw, and although none of us want disruption, we can’t just say and do nothing.”
At the AGM, teachers had discussed discontinuing volunteer activities such as coaching and school program support, while another contingent has called for teachers to continue strike action in the face of potential fines and other consequences.