Parents, students and teachers from School District 63 joined CUPE members on the picket line outside Sidney Elementary on Nov. 8. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Saanich school district parent pens open letter as CUPE strike continues

‘It’s not a strike that’s just affecting adults,’ wrote the parent who wants kids back in school

Parents with children in secondary school in the Saanich school district received several letters this week – from the district and their school principles – regarding the strike’s effect on graduation requirements and post-secondary applications.

Students in School District 63 (SD63) have been out of school have been out of school for three weeks now as the CUPE Local 441 strike continues and some parents are have grown concerned.

SD63 parent Lisa Hopkins isn’t choosing a side in the strike, but she feels it’s unfair for the children to be affected by adult issues. In an open letter sent to all strike stakeholders on Nov. 15, Hopkins cited the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and emphasized that it’s a child’s right to go to school.

On Nov. 12, superintendent of schools Dave Eberwein penned a letter to parents addressing the impacts the strike may have on students. He emphasized that the strike will not prevent students from graduating or moving to the next grade and that grade 12 students’ applications to universities would not be affected.

READ ALSO: Grade 12 students ‘will not lose their graduation year:’ SD63 superintendent

Hopkins isn’t convinced. Her daughter is in Grade 11 at Claremont Secondary but takes several Grade 12 classes and has been feeling stressed.

In the first week of the strike, her daughter – who has experience three strikes during her schooling – schoolwork to do, but now she’s not sure how to proceed, said Hopkins. She also worries about students who are taking AP classes as their exams are standardized and she feels they’ll be at a disadvantage after losing class time.

In the Nov. 12 letter to parents, Eberwein also noted that individual schools would update secondary school parents and on Wednesday Claremont Secondary parents received a letter saying the strike was an “excellent” opportunity to work on university applications, make educational and financial plans, complete volunteer hours, review coursework and look for online learning opportunities.

Hopkins feels it’s unfair to put the onus on students and ask them to seek out education.

“How are we parents suppose to deal with this ongoing strike and expect our children to pick up the slack from the adults who are putting them in this position?” she asked in her open letter.

READ ALSO: Parents plan second rally as CUPE 441 strike in SD63 stretches into third week

Hopkins’ daughter has talked about registering at a school in another district so that she wouldn’t be behind. While her daughter is old enough to understand the strike, Hopkins feels for the parents of little kids who may be sad about missing their classmates and teachers.

Talks between CUPE Local 441 and the District have been on and off and Hopkins said parents and students are getting frustrated.

“It’s too long for the kids and parents,” she said, “and I’m sure the people on the picket line are wanting it to be done.”

She closed the letter by asking that kids be back in school by Monday, Nov. 18.

Eberwein said the district is ready to get back to the table and CUPE Local 441 president Dean Coates is “cautiously optimistic” that a resolution could be reached over the weekend.

With files from Nina Grossman.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Police respond to petition for new police agency on Lindsay Buziak murder case

Petition asks Public Safety Minister to to help find justice for slain realtor

North Saanich man fears tougher moorage policies could cost him his home

Stewart Jackson has been living on a boat off Lillian Hoffar Park for about four years

Oak Bay council looks to whittle down tax increase from 8.05 per cent

Draft financial plan continues hyper-focus on replacing aging infrastructure

VIDEO: Tourism at a high during shoulder season in Greater Victoria

A new video highlights the efforts into making Greater Victoria an all year round destination

Hockey royalty Hayley Wickenheiser skates into Sidney this spring

Hayley Wickenheiser, Canada’s greatest women’s hockey player, to speak March 26

Fashion Fridays: The 8 best quality online stores! Shop the ultimate sales

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

POLL: Do you support the proposed changes for ICBC?

Tuesday’s provincial budget predicted a shift from shortfall to surplus in wake… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in Vancouver Island ditch

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

Canadian Premier League announces 2020 home dates for eight-team circuit

Pacific FC hosts FC Edmonton on April 11 in Langford

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

Most Read