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

Just Posted

New survey finds 4.7 million women over 15 were victims of sexual assault in Canada

Some 1.2 million men (eight per cent) report having been sexually assaulted since age 15

Greater Victoria residents recognized for International Volunteer Day

Thousands of people volunteer throughout the community every year

UVic researchers develop industry-changing ‘hyper-glue’

‘Cross-linking’ technology already playing a role in performance body armour

In and out in 60 seconds, two suspects get away with $10,000 worth of jewelry after break-in at WestShore Gold and Silver

Langford business broken into just down the street from West Shore RCMP detachment

More than a million square feet of rental units proposed for downtown Victoria development

The Harris Green development is proposed to take over two large lots on Yates Street

VIDEO: Rockslide closes Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

POLL: Will you be donating to charities over the holiday season?

Many here in Victoria joined others around the world to take part… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 3

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

Trustees ask for more help after tearful meeting on B.C. school’s ‘toxic’ stench

Enforcement has ‘no teeth,’ school trustee says, while kids become sick

One of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs baring all again for Christmas charity

25th annual event is Sunday and raises money for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

Threats to the Fraser River at ‘new zenith,’ says river conservationist

The ‘Heart of the Fraser’ should be deemed ecologically significant according to ORC statement

Grandparents raising children: Shuswap grandma sees need for support

Peer group formed for those who have unexpectedly taken on the role of parenting

Final appeal rejected for man convicted in deaths of missing Alberta seniors

Lyle and Marie McCann were in their 70s when they left their home in St. Albert in 2010 and vanished

Thieving gun-toting Santa breaks into Princeton restaurant, makes icing sugar sandwich

The suspect allegedly made a sandwich of icing sugar and ham

Most Read