On Monday, December 10, 2012, schoolteachers across the TDSB stopped volunteering their services for extracurricular activities, as part of their union's latest step in their fight against the government. They are doing this because of the government's enforcement of Bill 115, which imposes a 2-year wage freeze, takes away their collective bargaining rights, halves their sick days and eliminates any that have been banked up until this point.
Extracurricular activities are more than just fun things for students to do, they are an important part of the learning experience. A lot of them contribute to the 40 hours of community service required to graduate from high school, and colleges and universities look for this type of involvement on applications; many scholarships can be gained from participating in these activities. They provide a way for students to make friends and develop life-skills, creating a positive foundation for their future. In addition, the union's work-to-rule campaign means that teachers are no longer coming in early or staying after school to help students with assignments, and milestone events such as Prom will not happen if this continues.
We no longer have our much needed and beloved teams, clubs and events. This is unacceptable, needless to say the least, and although it is sad that our extracurricular activities have been taken from us as a result of this ongoing labor dispute, we realize that the rights of our teachers are important and they are not doing this to hurt us. We support them, and Bill 115 should not be allowed to exist, because it is unfair and unjust. We live in a democracy, where you have equal say in the decisions that affect your life. To take away the teachers' right to strike violates this constitution, and we will not stand by and let this happen. We are not just students, we are not just kids, we are future voters, and we demand that this issue be given more consideration so that it can be rectified. Mistakes have been made on both sides, and we should not be caught in the middle, paying the price.
As of January 2013, the Ontario government has said that it will repeal Bill 115, but not before using it to force new contracts onto the teachers. Because of this, there will be no extracurricular activities for the next 2 years. In response, we will send this petition to our local MPP, to voice our opinion regarding this unfortunate situation, and asking them to reconsider their actions.
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