Delta school clubs, sports teams and formal grad in jeopardy
Delta students may want to hold off buying that grad dress or renting a tux.
When Delta schools open April 2 after the spring break vacation, local teachers will be withholding their involvement in extracurricular and volunteer activities as part of the B.C. Teachers' Federation's job action as their dispute over contract demands continues.
That will mean events such as formal graduation ceremonies, coaching sports teams, and after school clubs would be affected.
Paul Steer, president of the Delta Teachers' Association, said that at a special general meeting last Friday (March 9) about a quarter of the group's membership—200 or so teachers—turned out to vote, and of those 80 per cent voted in favour of the move.
Steer said it was not a decision taken lightly.
"Teachers do a lot that's outside the bookends of the curriculum and outside the school day," Steer said while attending the BCTF's annual general meeting in Downtown Vancouver. "And teachers get a lot of satisfaction out of the extras they do with the kids. So, this is a decision that is actually made quite reluctantly."
But the motivation is clear, he said, adding teachers are upset over the provisions of Bill 22 that legislates B.C. teachers back to work.
"The legislation is very punitive," Steer said. "The illegal strike provisions, the fines that it specifies, are not unlike something you'd see in the criminal code. And the very idea that legislation was needed to end the strike in which teachers have actually not stopped working at all is incredible to us."
Steer said withdrawing their involvement is a "last card" action teachers have.
"There's not too much at all that wouldn't be interpreted as concerted action, which is the test for a strike," Steer said. "So, there's really nothing else.
"When it comes right down to it, the government is very powerful," Steer said. "And they've played their legislative card."
Not all of B.C.'s teachers have decided to drop their involvement in extracurricular and volunteer activities—Delta's teachers were one of the first to make the move.
"But it seems to be something that's arising almost spontaneously among BCTF locals," Steer said.