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Student reports are back, but extracurricular activities are on hold in latest round of teachers job action

NDTA president Tom Newell predicts teachers will support the recent BCTF vote. — The Nelson Daily photo

Parents of students in School District No. 8 can expect to see report cards heading home soon but may not see the same teachers volunteering for events from soccer to band to helping at the 2012 grad ceremonies.

That’s the message from Nelson and District Teachers Association Tom Newell after teachers voted 73 per cent in favour to withdraw volunteer work during a B.C. Teacher’s Federation vote last week.

“Bill 22 remains in effect so teachers are going to protest the robbing of our right to freely negotiate so I’m predicting that teachers will severely limit their volunteer activities,” Newell told The Nelson Daily Tuesday.

Newell met with the NDTA executive Tuesday and has scheduled a full meeting with area teachers for Monday.

The recent move to withdraw voluntary hours results from a province-wide vote late on the BCTF’s nine-point resistance strategy for Bill 22.

The province's 41,000 teachers voted 73 per cent in favour of the yet-to-be revealed strategy and officially began their plan of action Monday, April 23.

The first item on the protest agenda is the elimination of extracurricular activities, which includes sports teams, field and band trips outside regular work hours and grad ceremonies.

The decision, however, does not come without much thought as the BCTF shows the government its displeasure for Bill 22, the Education Improvement Act, and the current negotiation strategies, which includes the appointment of a mediator.

“Net zero embedded in Bill 22 and the forcing of mock mediation that basically imposes a contract on teachers have to accept is the reason for our decision,” Newell explained.

“I had good response from teachers about our decision,” Newell added. “We’re not picking a fight. We just want to negotiate a fair collective agreement.”

On the report card issue, Newell said teachers will comply with the recent Labour Relations Board (LRB) ruled B.C. teachers must retroactively complete the reports for the time they were in job action.

“It’s not a report card,” he said. “It’s a report on student achievement since the start of the year.”

B.C. School Sports, a voluntary non-profit society that governs high school sports in the province, said in a press release Friday, “as long as there are volunteers (teaching and/or non-teaching) willing to support student athletes and facilitate the leagues, zones and provincials, our athletic programs will continue.”

“At this point we are going to proceed with the planned spring season for the 35,000 students involved in Badminton, Golf, Mountain-Biking, Rugby, Soccer, Tennis, and Track & Field,” the release added.

BCSS has since adjusted its spring season of sports as of Tuesday, canceling mountain biking and noting track and field is questionable.

editor@thenelsondaily.com