Barrie public school students stage demonstration over loss of extracurricular activities
Students at Codrington Public School were briefed by Barrie police officers concerned for their safety, Thursday, after 50 students left their classrooms during a walkout demonstration. The group was protesting the loss of their extracurricular activities. MARK WANZEL PHOTO
Students at Codrington Public School in Barrie were briefed by Barrie police officers concerned for their safety, Thursday, after approximately 50 students left their classrooms during a walkout demonstration.
The group was protesting the loss of their extracurricular activities as teachers continue their work-to-rule stance over Bill 115.
Students at several schools in the region have been staging protests in recent days.
Education Minister Laurel Broten said Thursday that she will not interfere in plans by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) to launch one-day rotating strikes in school boards across the province.
Broten acknowledged it was an inconvenience for parents but argued one day off school would not jeopardize student learning.
“I have carefully weighed the balance of legal strike action and the needs of students and parents to have stability in their schools,” Broten said.
“Given that ETFO has provided five days notice to families, and given that they have assured families that this will be only a one-day strike, I am prepared to let one day of legal strike action occur.”
Broten has the power under Bill 115 to impose a contract and halt strikes — something she says she’s prepared to do if strikes extend beyond one day or if ETFO fails to provide at least 72 hours notice.
Local school boards in the Avon Maitland District, which covers an area north of London that includes the counties of Huron and Perth, and the Ontario North East District, which includes the communities of Temagami, Timmins and Kirkland Lake, were notified by ETFO that their members would not be on the job Monday.
Broten confirmed that she will permit one-day strikes in any elementary school board where the union is in a legal position to strike.
ETFO has promised at least 72-hours notice before initiating one of its rotating strikes.
• with files from QMI