J.L. Crowe Secondary School teachers Dale Smyth and Tanner Ansley were back on the picket line Wednesday morning as the strike action continues across the province.

Local PAC backs teachers

“It seems to me that the teachers' union has been making concessions from the get-go and the government has made none." - Erica Charette

We’ve heard from the teachers. We’ve heard from the provincial government. Now, it is time to hear from the parents about the ongoing labour dispute.

Glenmerry Parent Advisory Council (PAC) Chair, Erica Charette, says she has received comments from parents saying they are getting tired of the back and forth between teachers and the province.

“I think, basically, the way most parents are feeling is that the whole dispute is becoming a bit ridiculous,” she said. “It seems to me that the teachers’ union has been making concessions from the get-go and the government has made none. I have a lot of friends who are teachers and I have been watching what is going on and it is very frustrating.”

The feeling Charette is getting from the parents in the area is that they support the teachers and just want the dispute to be over.

“It was unfortunate that the government and the teachers union didn’t come together over the summer. That was disappointing to most parents,” she said. “You’re always going to get those that don’t agree with the labour dispute, but for the most part, most of the parents that I have talked to on a personal level are behind the teachers.”

Charette says she has heard that some parents are attempting to continue their child’s education, or even just brush up on a few concepts while the strike action continues.

“I’ve heard of a few parents that were going to buy the school workbooks you can get at Wal-Mart and places like that, and just go through it and do some review with their kids,” she said, adding that she has been doing the same with her children.

“I’ve got my kids doing stuff like that. They are reading and I am making sure that they are keeping up on their skills.”

With a daughter entering Grade 8 and a son going into Grade 5, Charette understands the frustration of other parents during the labour dispute. Although, as a stay-at-home mom, childcare isn’t an issue for her as it is for some other parents.

“Most (parents) just want to know, ‘what are we going to do with our kids?’” she said. “I had one parents ask me what I was going to do with my kids, and fortunately I am a stay-at-home mom, so I don’t have to worry about that.”

The PAC Chair spoke passionately about not understanding the government’s point of view when it comes to the dispute and brought up back-to-work legislation as a possible solution to get kids back into the classroom.

“It is frustrating that they bring in a great mediator like Vince Ready and the government is totally not participating,” she said. “It seems strange to me that if education is as important to the government as it is to parents, then they would be legislating the teachers back. Since they are not, it seems that they are playing a political game.”

Friday rally at Crowe and FES

The Kootenay-Columbia Teachers’ Union (KCTU) is hosting a “Turning up the Heat for Public Education” barbecue at Trail’s J.L. Crowe Secondary and Fruitvale Elementary School on Friday at noon.

Andy Davidoff, KCTU president says parents, PAC members, administrators, trustee representatives, local government representatives and prospective trustee and local government candidates are welcome to join in a show of support for local teachers.

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