Teachers' strike leaves parents organizing kids' track meet

About 100 North Shore parents have stepped up to organize a district-wide elementary school track meet at Swangard Stadium on Tuesday that had been cancelled because of the teachers' strike.

100 parents volunteer to stage elementary school track meeting for 1,800 kids

Parents will run track meet because teachers will be on strike 2:44

About 100 North Shore parents have stepped up to organize a district-wide elementary school track meet at Swangard Stadium on Tuesday that had been cancelled because of the teachers' strike.

More than 1,800 elementary school children had spent months training and qualifying only to see the event cancelled last week when the teacher's union announced teachers in North Vancouver would participate in the rotating strike that day.

Parent Matthew Young says parents only learned of the decision on Friday.

"Our reaction was it's unacceptable," he said.

"It's the second time it's happened in four years with this particular age group and we needed to do something beyond write the scathing emails and whine and complain."

Young says other parents were contacted, a group was formed, and within eight hours parents had the go-ahead from the superintendent and the school district.

When asked why they did it, Young said parents wanted to send a message to their children that when adversity strikes, you don't focus on the negatives, but on on the opportunities.

One of the volunteer parents, Laurie Oseen says their children are active kids who love the sport and trained hard, and to have it cancelled was "extremely disappointing" for everyone.

Elementary school student Stephen Castagna says he doesn't know much about the dispute, but he can see how it's affecting him.

"I feel caught in the middle. We might miss our grad, and year-end trips. So yeah I feel caught in the middle," he said.

Parents say nobody in the dispute is winning right now, but at least the North Shore kids are going to get their track meet.

Week 2 teachers' strike schedule

Thirteen school districts across B-C, from Nanaimo to Prince Rupert, Peace River-South, Kootenay-Columbia and several around Metro Vancouver — including Richmond and Delta — are behind picket lines as teachers launch a second week of rotating strikes.

North Vancouver elementary school kids talk about the strike's impact. Stephen Castagna (2nd from left) says he feels "caught in the middle." (CBC)

B.C. Teachers Federation President Jim Iker was on the picket line with strikers in Richmond Monday morning, where he was joined by Hassan Yussuff, the new president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

Teachers are holding out for improvements to class size and composition, as well as a wage increase.

Rotating pickets are planned for today, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Monday, June 2

#20 - Kootenay-Columbia

#23 - Central Okanagan

#27 - Cariboo-Chilcotin

#35 -Langley

#37 - Delta

#38 - Richmond

#42 - Maple Ridge

#52 - Prince Rupert

#59 - Peace River South

#63 - Saanich

#68 - Nanaimo

#70 - Alberni

#83 - North Okanagan-Shuswap

Tuesday, June 3

#10 - Arrow Lakes

#19 - Revelstoke

#22 - Vernon

#33 - Chilliwack

#36 - Surrey

#41 - Burnaby

#44 - North Vancouver

#45 - West Vancouver

#46 - Sunshine Coast

#57 - Prince George

#58 - Nicola Similkameen

#64 - Gulf Islands

#71 - Comox

#79 - Cowichan Valley

#81 - Fort Nelson

Wednesday, June 4

No rotating strike

Thursday, June 5

#5 - Southeast Kootenay

#8 - Kootenay Lake

#34 - Abbotsford

#43 - Coquitlam

#47 - Powell River

#50 - Haida Gwaii

#51 - Boundary

#53 - Okanagan Similkameen

#54 - Bulkley Valley

#60 - Peace River North

#61 - Greater Victoria

#69 - Qualicum

#73 - Kamloops Thompson

#84 - Vancouver Island West

#91 - Nechako Lakes

#92 - Nisga’a

Friday, June 6

#6 - Rocky Mountain

#28 - Quesnel

#39 - Vancouver

#40 - New Westminster

#48 - Sea to Sky

#49 - Central Coast

#62 - Sooke

#67 - Okanagan Skaha

#72 - Campbell River

#74 - Gold Trail

#75 - Mission

#78 - Fraser-Cascade

#82 - Coast Mountains

#85 - Vancouver Island North

#87 - Stikine

​ School District #93, Conseil Scolaire Francophone, schools will be closed with others in their local communities throughout the week.

With files from Deborah Goble


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