June 4, 2014 3:22 pm
Updated: June 4, 2014 5:00 pm

B.C. students walk out of schools in protest


VANCOUVER – Students in B.C. schools are walking out of their classes today, in protest of the dispute between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the provincial government.  According to the Facebook Page organizing the event, the students are not supporting either side. They likened the situation to parents who are divorcing and putting the children in the middle of the dispute.

“Each side claims to be ‘fighting for the students’ yet each side fails to show how they are doing so,” reads the event page.  Students say they’re upset over the loss of extra-curricular activities because of the lockout imposed by the government, as well as the lack of homework help. “This hurts high school students’ chances of scholarships and sports in university,” it says. Over 13,500 people had signed up to walk-out, but reports are conflicting as to the actual numbers, and overall success of the movement.

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In Surrey, Global News has learned as many as 2,000 were expected to leave class today, but only a few actually did so.  School Board 36 issued a warning to parents about the walk-out, asking them to discuss with their children safety concerns surrounding walking off school property.

In Cranbrook, Lorilee Bell’s 13-year-old son walked out of Parkland Middle School against the warnings of administrators. When his mother brought him back to class, she told Global News that the vice principal suspended her son for the rest of the day. Bell says she’s upset with this action. “I understand there needs to be a punishment…but it doesn’t mean to send your kid home.  That’s what I disagree with.”  Global News has reached out to Parkland Middle School for comment.

Today is the only day this week the BCTF is not holding rotating strikes in B.C.  Those strikes will resume Thursday and a full schedule can be found here.

The BCTF and the province returned to the bargaining table yesterday, after several days off.

Global News Legislative Bureau Chief Keith Baldrey says there was movement today in regards to wages and it was in the government’s favour.

The BCTF reportedly agreed to knock one percentage point off their proposed wage and benefit demands of 13.4 per cent over four years.

In addition, they also agreed to downscale their cost-of-living adjustment to less than two per cent per year, down from 14 per cent over four years.

WATCH: BC teachers strike – small move at the bargaining table

Today there was no talk of class size and composition at the bargaining table, but the B.C. Labour Relations Board will issue its decision on whether or not the government’s 10 per cent wage cut to teachers is legal.

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