Return to Classes Means Return of Sanctions

Monday, February 26th, extracurricular activities at schools across the province will come to a halt for one day as teachers withdraw their participation in those types of activities. As indicated by STF president Samantha Becotte, sanctions will resume as the Winter Break ends. All extracurricular activities including sports, drama, music, band, science clubs, intramurals, rehearsals, student leadership activities, planning for graduation celebrations, book fairs, and other clubs and activities that take place before school, during lunch hour, after school, and in the evening.

“Teachers are passionate about the work we do to support students in classrooms and within the school community. We never want to be in a situation where opportunities for students are impacted; however, this government has left us no other options,” says Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation President Samantha Becotte. “Beginning with a one-day withdrawal of these services is not something that we take lightly. [Our] government needs to recognize the magnitude of the situation they have caused and continue to contribute to, get serious, and return to the table ready to bargain on the real issues impacting Saskatchewan students.”

Another part of the sanctions that will be continuing, is the rotating withdrawal of noon-hour supervision. Student supervision during the noon hour is done by teachers voluntarily and the withdrawal of that service is one of the options available to teachers in their ongoing struggle with the provincial government. Student supervision, the press release issued by the STF today points out, is the responsibility of the school division. The withdrawal of noon-hour supervision on February 26th will impact all schools in the Northern Lights School Division, Northwest School Division, Prairie South School Division, Saskatoon Public Schools and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, and those schools in the Living Sky School Division, Light of Christ School Division, and the Sakewew High School in North Battleford.

Collective bargaining is designed as a process by which teachers and their employers, which includes the provincial government, address concerns and issues relating not only to salaries and benefits but also to working conditions, which as Becotte has previously noted, are also students' learning conditions. Preventing teachers from including in bargaining, issues that surround unmet student needs, in effect leaves the public in the dark about the conditions in our schools.

STF President Samantha Becotte will be holding another virtual Parent and Caregiver Information Night on Monday evening through Zoom, where she will provide further information regarding the status of contract negotiation and job action. Registration is available on the STF website.

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wakaw Recorder