Parents and students show support for teachers as province closes schools
'They deserve more time to spend teaching children, not just doing data entry,' says parent
Parents and students across Nova Scotia gathered at schools Monday morning and are also at the legislature to show support for teachers embroiled in a contract dispute with the province.
On Saturday, the government announced all public schools in Nova Scotia would close beginning today, but teachers would still be expected to report to work. The closures come as the province works to impose a contract that had previously been rejected by Nova Scotia's 9,300 teachers.
Shannon Hamilton was among the parents gathered at Truro Elementary School. She has a son in Grade Primary and hugged one of the teachers when they arrived. The teacher in turn hugged Hamilton's son.
"He doesn't understand what's going on," Hamilton said of her son. "It's hard to explain to him and make him understand why he won't be in school this week. That's the struggle for us."
Sharalee MacIsaac has a daughter in Grade 2 at the school. She said her daughter has eyesight problems that delay her reading abilities. Being out of school could mean she falls behind.
MacIsaac said she supports the teachers 100 per cent.
Several hundred teachers, supporters and parents turned out for a rally Monday afternoon in Sydney.
Passing vehicles honked their horns in support as the protesters lined both sides of the busy street outside the Provincial Building and waved placards reading "Negotiate Don't Dictate."
Sally Capstick is NSTU Cape Breton Local president. She said they didn't call for the rally until Sunday night, so she was thrilled to see the large turnout.
"I am here because I do think it is very upsetting that teachers would have to go in the street to get their due." said Christiane Tanner, a retired teacher.
With files from Paul Palmeter and Joan Weeks