P.E.I. teachers encouraged to attend rally by federation
Federation warning members not to criticize school boards or government
The P.E.I. Teachers’ Federation is encouraging its members to attend a rally on Sunday against cuts to education.
The federation is also warning members not to say anything critical about the school boards or the provincial government.
The government has cut 32 teaching positions for the 2014-15 year, which brings the total number of positions eliminated over the past three years to more than 100.
The rally is being organized by parents and community members concerned about the impact of education cuts. The group is calling itself Islanders Against the 2014 Cuts to Education.
The president of the P.E.I. Teachers’ Federation said his office has been getting calls from teachers wondering whether or not they should participate.
Gilles Arsenault sent a letter to members saying the federation believes the rally is a positive step in keeping pressure on the government to keep teaching jobs. He said mobilizing parents and the community is a great way to bring about change.
However in the letter he cautions them not to speak against government or the school boards because it could bring about discipline from the employer.
In an interview with CBC Friday, Arsenault said he doesn't know of a case where this has happened.
He said as the spokesperson for the federation, he will speak at the rally on behalf of teachers.
“Kind of a friendly reminder to let the teachers know what it is that they are engaging in and that we do have policies here at the federation that state that the president is the spokesperson and at public functions, I do assume that responsibility,” he said.
The minister of education was not available to speak Friday. The superintendent of the English Language School Board said it's a matter for the Teachers' Federation and declined to be interviewed.
The rally is scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. Sunday at Province House.