Extra-curriculars cancelled by TLDSB decision
By Darren Lum
Published Feb. 4, 2020
Teachers, parents and students are disappointed by the Trillium Lakelands District School Board's decision to cancel all extra-curricular activities at secondary schools made at the board's public meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28.
TLDSB director of education Larry Hope said this decision was made as a result of the strike action by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, which moved to not allow teachers to cover for absent teachers.
“We know this is unpopular, as it has resulted in teachers not being released from their teaching duties to participate with students in league play or tournament events during the instructional day. We did not take this decision lightly and are aware that this is not an ideal situation. It is important to note, however, that our decision was made with the goal of protecting classroom programming to the fullest extent possible. For us, this means we want to make use of the limited number of secondary supply teachers to support classroom programming first and foremost,” he wrote.
In an OSSTF press release, it referenced the current collective agreement in regards to supply teachers.
"The number of occasional (supply) teachers on TLDSB’s list is limited in the collective agreement between OSSTF and TLDSB in order to ensure that there is both adequate availability of occasional teachers and adequate work for those teachers,” it reads.
Shedden wrote an email about the availability of supply teachers, “We have interviewed candidates and are waiting for responses or documentation from some candidates to finalize their placement on the list.”
According to an OSSTF press release sent by district 15 representative Colin Matthew following the meeting, parents and students at the meeting questioned why the school board is the only one in the province to take this stance.
Father Jan Haedicke of Haliburton has a disappointed son in his fifth year at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School, who is likely without a hockey season to play and is likely to leave to find work until autumn. The athletic season of all winter sports was in peril since the Kawartha District Athletic Association imposed a Jan. 31 deadline on Jan. 23, which coincided with a membership meeting for members "to finalize the winter season schedules and playoffs." The failure to commit to schedules would put an individual athlete or teams to be declared 'Not in Good Standing' and "unable to participate in any Kawartha District Sport at any level until their schools are deemed to have regained 'Good Standing." The decision from the meeting is not known at this time. There was hope for a possible extension depending on the sport.
Haedicke is a Red Hawks alumnus and may have not been at the meeting, but shares the same question about the board being the only one in the province.
From a Lindsay Advocate article, TLDSB district manager of corporate communications, Catherine Shedden confirmed the following comment, “We cannot speak to the decisions of other school boards. We can only respond to the decision made by TLDSB. And in TLDSB classroom programming is our priority. In TLDSB we would have to collapse classrooms and have administrators supervising large numbers of students and classes in libraries and gymnasiums which is not conducive to our priority of maintaining optimal classroom programming.”
Haedicke can't imagine his final school year without athletics.
“It is something you look forward to because not everyone is interested in the academics, right? So people who are into athletics it kind of balances it out. Without that they don't really want to go to school anymore,” he said.