Many of Ottawa's public school teachers say they're upset about a letter from their school board asking them to resume extracurricular activities, calling it a veiled threat against their jobs.
The letter, penned by the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board's director of education Jennifer Adams, encourages teachers to stop protesting the provincial government's controversial Bill 115 over fears it will affect enrolment.
The teachers' union said the letter angers many of its members since their jobs are tied to enrolment.
"It's certainly kind of a veiled threat to teacher jobs and more likely to create problems than solve them," said Harvey Bischof, vice-president of the Ontario Secondary Schools Teachers Federation.
Adams said she wants to put parents' fears to rest and get extracurricular activities back.
"(Parents) will have many questions, particularly this year, about the range of programs and services available in OCDSB schools," she said.
"We have to work hard to make sure we have our teaching staff, our administrators, our support staff…all of us going out and talking about the great things we do for children in our schools."
Alternative school models could benefit from status quo
Schools such as Ottawa's Ashbury College could benefit if extracurricular activities continue to be withheld.
The independent boarding school features music, arts and drama as part of its curriculum, which its headmaster said brought many public school parents to an open house last week.
"We don't know at this time how many parents will follow through, but…there is definitely a concern that their children have the opportunities for their sports and their music," said Ashbury headmaster Tam Matthews.
The union representing English public high school teachers said it hopes for progress with new premier, Kathleen Wynne, and new education minister, Liz Sandals.
The union will be meeting with government and school board officials later this week.