Suncrest parents rally in support of teachers

Parents at Suncrest elementary in southwest Burnaby held a rally in support of teachers last Friday afternoon.

Janine Aussem, whose son is in Grade 2 at Suncrest, said about 20 parents and 20 children participated, waving placards in front of the school Dec. 16 just before school let out for the holidays.

She said she decided to help organize the event after watching news coverage of the attempts by the BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA) to roll back teachers' wages by 15 per cent during the job action.

The BC Labour Relations Board dismissed the application but BCPSEA has since filed an appeal of the ruling.

The Suncrest parents simply wanted to show support to teachers during their job action, she said.

"They're looking at the issues in the classroom and standing up for those concerns that parents have about issues in the classroom."

Families have not been greatly affected by the job action so far, she said, noting teachers are making efforts to communicate with parents since they are not filling out formal report cards. The school of about 185 students still held a Christmas concert but could not hold it at night which meant some working parents were unable to attend.

"At Suncrest they've been really trying to lessen any impacts that they can."

The timing of the rally was partly due to news that the employers' association is trying to roll back wages right before Christmas and contract negotiations appear at a standstill.

"In some ways we know teachers are not enjoying the job action, it's not something they want to be doing," she said, "and so right before Christmas it's maybe nice to show them a bit of support."

Aussem said the parents hope people will undertake similar rallies at other schools.

"Even if they don't do it in a public forum that they contact their MLA or do something because without the support of parents I think this could really drag on for a long time."

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