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

Need a doctor in Sooke? You may be in luck

In anticipation of recruiting more doctors, medical clinic accepting applications for a waitlist

Two 15-year-olds arrested for mischief after windows broken at Colwood elementary school

Police arrest one suspect but were called back to the school for a second

Flying hot dog strikes Saanich pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

Emergency crews harassed while extinguishing brush fire, rescuing drunk 15-year-old during long weekend calls

Airlines dispute Dr. Henry’s claim they ‘very rarely’ give accurate COVID contact tracing info

Air Canada, WestJet say they provide names and contact information

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

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

B.C. scientist, 63, protests in trees set to be removed for Trans Mountain pipeline

Tim Takaro is reaching new heights as he tries to stall the pipeline expansion project in New Westminster

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Dinosaurs revived for animatronic auction in Langley

More than 500 robot dinosaurs, fossils, and exhibition gear are going on the block Aug. 6

B.C. paramedics responded to a record-breaking 2,700 overdose calls in July

Province pledges $10.5 million for expansion of overdose prevention response

Canada signs deals with Pfizer, Moderna to get doses of COVID-19 vaccines

Earlier in July both Pfizer and Moderna reported positive results from smaller trials

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

Cyclist in hospital after being hit by load of lumber hanging from truck on B.C. highway

A man is in hospital with broken ribs, punctured lung and a broken clavicle and scapula

Most Read