We, the undersigned parents and supporters of students, recognize there is currently a complex labor dispute between the Ontario government and Ontario’s public elementary and high school teachers.
We do NOT support the form the teacher’s protest has taken as it directly affects students even though they have no voice in the dispute. As a result, we have formed a protest group called S.M.A.R.T, which stands for Students Matter and Require Teachers.
We feel the environment that has been created for students by the uneven withdrawal of help for extra learning opportunities, as well as extra-curricular activities, is shameful. It means many students, and families, have become disengaged. Students in grade 12 specifically have been robbed of the competitive edge they might have when applying to university by showing their involvement in school clubs, activities and leadership opportunities.
Most teachers enter their profession because they have a genuine interest in positively influencing our children’s future. Taking part in this job action seems to go against the professional ethics laid out by the Ontario College of Teachers.
We as parents, along with many teachers, have invested time and effort to teach students to stand up to bullies. We know there are teachers who are upset about having to withdraw their supervision and involvement with students. We have talked to some of them and want to support them.
The union leaders repeatedly claim it’s up to individual teachers to decide what voluntary activities they take part in and they will not face repercussions from the unions. We ask teachers to start listening to their hearts and stand up to anyone who may quietly threaten reprisals. At stake is the culture and attitudes toward learning in the next generation of students.
Listen to your heart. Your actions speak louder than words. If you are a supporter of S.M.A.R.T, please show it by finding a small piece of gold ribbon and attaching it to your coat. In our view, gold represents the value we place on education and our children’s future.
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