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‘Wildcat strike’ a horrible example to set for students

Frustration all-round: the grounds of Victor Scott Primary were deserted as all public-school teachers staged a sick-out yesterday and students returned home (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Dear Sir,

I write with fantastic disgust to have learnt minutes ago that the teachers at Gilbert Institute are planning to stage a wildcat industrial action this morning (Monday, December 10, 2018).

I am unsure if this is another “sick-out”, like displayed by the West Pembroke teachers recently and the educational aids system-wide subsequently. If so, and they are not sick but are planning to fraudulently claim illness when they are not — as well as abuse the provisions of their collective agreement by claiming sick pay — then they deserve to be shamed and receive punitive consequences, as any misbehaved schoolchild would.

This type of conduct, promoted and encouraged by their union, is disgraceful and sets a horrible example for their students — ie, it is OK to lie and break the rules at will if I do not get what I want, when I want it.

If this is not a sick-out, and is merely a wildcat strike, then it is equally shameful that teachers will not follow proper rules and protocols to have their grievances dealt with. This is no example to set for students.

The public teachers’ grievances as articulated in recent weeks are legitimate. I do not know of any parents who do not want to see those grievances addressed. The standards-based grading fiasco that the Ministry of Education has created is unacceptable. After recently attending three parent-teacher interviews at Gilbert Institute for my daughters, I left with three somewhat different explanations of how SBG is applied — how standard is that? — and no good understanding of how my children are actually performing academically in school.

This issue needs to be fixed with urgency. However, teachers refusing to go to school and teach will not solve the problem.

Wildcat actions such as this do not hurt the Ministry of Education; they only hurt the students and their families, as well as the wider community. In the process, this gives cause for those truly affected to lose respect for the teachers.

Danielle Riviere, at West Pembroke, recently proclaimed that the teachers at her school had full support from parents for their sick-out action. I want to make it clear that the teachers elsewhere do not have full parental support for similar actions.



Gilbert Institute parent