As teachers return to school this fall, we are disappointed to discover that School District No. 5 administrative staff has decided to cancel our elementary students’ recess.
We have asked them to reconsider their decision because children benefit from this traditional exercise and nutrition break.
BC’s public school teachers, who are classified as essential service providers, are very frustrated with stalled provincial bargaining, especially in regard to the restoration of working and learning conditions that the government legislatively and unconstitutionally stripped from our contracts. So, like many other workers, we have sought to influence our employer by withdrawing some services we normally provide.
The Labour Relations Board facilitated an employer/employee agreement as to which tasks could be withdrawn. Except during an emergency, supervision of students beyond the classroom is classified as a nonessential task for teachers that can be performed by management.
This means that the employer must now exhaust every possibility to have management personnel do supervision before teachers can be asked to assist.
In a previous “teach only” campaign, School District No. 5 management was able with fewer personnel and more schools to perform all the necessary supervision without requiring teachers to breach the job action, and without canceling recess. A large majority of school districts around the province, urban and rural, have not cancelled recess. Their administrative staff havebn made room in their schedules to be with students on playgrounds.
We hope that phase one of our job action will be successful with minimal disruption to teaching and learning, and that School District No. 5’s decisions will positively support the resolution of our conflict with the government.
Fernie District Teachers’ Association