Don’t blame teachers for Prince Rupert recess cancellation

Teachers did not cancel recess and are very disappointed that the school district has.

Editor’s note: The following was received as an open letter to the community.

Parents, students and community members:

Teachers did not cancel recess and are very disappointed that the school district has.

This is an unnecessary step that impacts children and families negatively.  The majority of school districts across B.C. have not cancelled recess and ours should reconsider. There are enough principals, vice-principals and excluded staff to meet supervisionneeds.

Supervision was one of the issues addressed at the Labour Relations Board (LRB) between BC Public School Employers’ Association and the BC Teachers’ Federation. The resulting LRB order made it clear that teachers would have to supervise before school and at recess if management and excluded staff were not able to.

The order states: “With respect to any before/after school, recess or noon hour supervision normally provided by teachers, before/after school supervision related only to bus drop off and pick-up, and recess and noon hour supervision will continue to be provided by teachers subject to the Employer utilizing management and excluded staff to the best extent possible to replace teachers for these activities.”

Teachers believed this meant recess would continue as it did during our 2011-2012 job action. The school district has cancelled recess because it is inconvenient to principals and management to do this work.

Our hope was this inconvenience would have resulted in pressure being applied (by management) to BC Public Employers’ Association to bargain a settlement.

It is our desire to achieve a fair deal at the bargaining table in a timely manner.

Kathy Murphy

Prince Rupert Teachers’ Union

The Northern View