SD 20 track meet cancelled; parent-based alternate event on tap
The School District 20 annual elementary track and field meet has become the latest casualty of ongoing strife between the province and its teachers, as day two of rotating job action in the district unfolds.
The following letter was issued to local parents yesterday by SD 20 Superintendent Greg Luterbach:
With deep regret I am writing to inform you that the district elementary track and field meet scheduled for May 28th and 29th has been cancelled. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing labour dispute, I am unable to ensure that the event can run safely and with the appropriate supervision and supports in place for students. I want to thank all the teachers and administrators who volunteered their time coaching and preparing students for the meet.
Superintendent of Schools
In a phone interview today, Luterbach responded to allegations that the move (along with an earlier recess cancellation) was politically motivated and intended to further polarize parents and teachers.
“In both those cases (recess and the meet cancellation), when the announcement came out, it came out from me, with my name, and I outlined the rationale behind it,” he said, explaining the fluidity of job action and its implications make scheduling special events like the meet unworkable.
He said the stances of both the BCTF and BC Public Schools Employers Association raise the question of if, and how many, teachers would be able to attend and supervise, even in a volunteer capacity.
“I just couldn’t guarantee we’d have the supervision to ensure the safety of the students,” he said.
He said he has heard, via social media and other sources, that some parents are hoping to plan a similar meet next week, employing parental supervision, and stressed it would be a community event, not a school one, and thus wouldn’t be subject to SD20 guidelines, insurance requirements, etc.
He added there would be no punitive measures taken against children whose parents allow them to opt out of their regular school weeks to attend.
“I would think it’s no different than when I take my kids out of school on a Friday to attend a hockey tournament,” he said, adding parents would still hopefully take the usual steps in such a case and notify the school of the impending absence as well as ensuring their kids catch up on any missed schoolwork.
The Source/Champion have been able to confirm that such an event is slated to take place on June 5. Stay tuned for details on how to register and/or participate.
In related news, some students have scheduled a student walkouot via a Facebook page. For more information, click here.