By Rhonda Massad
Parents wanted to show support for the teachers of their school who are striking against increased class sizes under the work-to-rule campaign where teachers will only work 32 hours a week. So they joined the teachers on the picket line last Friday at 7:30 a.m.
The teachers at Beacon Hill Elementary took part in the walkout held across Montreal and Laval. More than 5,500 teachers from English-language schools were on the picket line on Thursday.
As a teacher in McGill University’s Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Beaconhill Elementary School governing board chairperson Celena Bergdahl has experienced increased class sizes and budget cuts.
“I know how hard it is when the class sizes go up and budgets are reduced. I am dealing with adults and that is hard enough, I cant imagine dealing with children under those circumstances.”
According to Bergdahl this impacts the children with resect to their extra curricular activities. All extracurricular activities have been cut due to the strike including sports and leisure.
“With increased class sizes and codes being removed from special needs children our teachers will be spreading themselves out more leaving less time for each child,” Bergdahl said. “When a special needs child is counted as one child where they were once counted as two children, all the children will pay a price.”
“We gathered before the bell rang at 7:30 a.m.” Bergdahl told The Suburban in an interview. “The teachers were demonstrating anyway and we thought we (parents) would put our voices behind them as well. We wanted to be a part of that picket line and show them our support.”
Bergdahl says the school has an active parents committee and even though many parents work full time jobs they find time to volunteer at the school.
“All of us know the teachers well. We know they care about the our children and care about the quality of teaching,” she continued, “They try interesting things like robotics and give extra curricular activities in sports on their own time. I am sure they just want to continue on with that. It is harder to hold that quality if we put too much on their plates. They can only do so much in the day.
The Beaconhill Elementary School governing board sent a letter to the MNA Geoffery Kelley at the beginning of the summer and are awaiting a response.