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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Public School Teachers, Education Workers Hit Picket Lines in Bruce County

Saugeen Shores | by John Divinski  

One-day job action closes Bluewater District School Board schools.

About 100 picketers from many schools in Bruce County were on duty at the school and their march route didn't just cover the front of the school but extended a few blocks towards Port Elgin's business core.

They're striking because of education cuts announced by the provincial government and the lack of negotiations to get a new contract.

Michelle Minke of Bruce Peninsula District School in Lion's Head teaches grades 9-12 art class with 30 students, along with special needs students; a lifeskills class and Grade 9 geography.

She says, in her art class they don't have enough space to complete quality artwork saying "They're having to be farmed out to the library and sometimes into the hallway."

Minke says "I do feel I'm selling them short of a very solid program."

The Mental Health Lead for the Bluewater system, Rene Langen says when you increase class size and reduce services for the children, "It has a dramatic and negative impact on student well-being."

President of the Ontario Seconcary School Teachers Federation Bluewater District 7 bargaining unit Betty-Jo Raddin says similar picket lines were held at most schools, including the Bluewater Board head office in Chesley.

She says the one-day picket action isn't hurting the students, "The students are feeling (the impact) it because of what this government did when it increased class size and if the government moves forward with plans for e-learning, the students are surely going to feel that as well."

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