Teachers blast district over meeting ban

Union accuses school board of preventing representatives from meeting with parents

The Vernon School District is being accused of preventing discussion between parents and teachers.

The Vernon Teachers Association claims it was invited to attend a District Parents Advisory Council meeting today (Monday), but the district stated the union could not participate.

“It’s hard to say the disrespect I felt,” said Bruce Cummings, VTA president.

Cummings says DPAC is going to discuss the provincial government’s education plan and teachers were asked to provide their viewpoint.

“We want to provide information to parents,” said Cummings.

Teachers will protest outside of Clarence Fulton Secondary — the site of the DPAC session — today at 5:15 p.m.

According to DPAC, teachers were invited to the meeting as education partners but that was done before job action escalated into a full strike.

“There are some parents who are teachers and some who are not uncomfortable with the union being there,” said president Nicole Makohoniuk, adding that DPAC does not want to be caught in the middle of the dispute between the union and the government.

“The evening was set up for parent education (about how classes will be comprised in the future).”

No one from the Vernon School District could be reached for comment.

Upwards of 600 teachers gathered along 32nd Avenue during the noon hour today to protest the government’s proposed legislation to end the labour dispute.

“This legislation is going to change what we do in our classes and we can’t stand for it,” said Cummings of potential impacts on class size and composition.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, teachers will be handing out information at select schools: Ellison, Coldstream, Vernon, Beairsto, Alexis Park, Charles Bloom, BX and W.L. Seaton.

Teachers are expected to be back in classes Thursday.