Mason Heintz

Mason Heintz

No teachers, no problem

Group of Penticton parents supervises student camping trip after labour dispute initially prompted school to cancel it

Two years after their kids’ year-end school camping trip was called off due to a teachers’ dispute, some local parents weren’t about to let it happen again.

About 100 students in Grade 8 at KVR Middle School in Penticton were set to leave Wednesday for a two-day trip to Camp Boyle, but the outing was cancelled suddenly when teacher sponsors withdrew their support.

Eight parents then took matters into their own hands and set out Thursday with 36 kids for an overnight stay at the camp 20 kilometres northwest of Summerland.

“This is (the students’) last year at KVR, and they’ve been looking forward to this for three years,” said Sarah Broder, one of the parents who helped reorganize the camp-out. “A lot of these kids have never had an opportunity where they’ve slept in a tent. They’ve never cooked over an open fire. They’ve never done a lot of these things, and it’s wonderful to be able to make it happen.”

Mason Heintz, 13, said he and his classmates were crushed when they learned the school-sponsored excursion had been scuttled.

“I was pretty sad that it wasn’t going on, because in Grade 6 they also do a year-end camping trip and we missed that one because of that (2012 teachers’) strike,” he said.

Broder said parents aren’t assigning blame for this year’s cancellation.

“This is an apolitical event. I’m not bashing anybody over their politics — I just don’t like it when my kids get influenced by politics,” she explained.

Okanagan Skaha School District superintendent Wendy Hyer said the trip is no longer sanctioned by her staff and therefore outside her purview.

“Parents have taken their children out of school for a family camping trip, which is no different if they take them out of school to go to Mexico for a week,” she said in an email.

“These are parental decisions that do not involve the district.”

Leslea Woodward, president of the Okanagan Skaha Teachers’ Union, applauded the KVR parents’ efforts.

“If this is something they’re doing, good, I’m glad,” she said.  “I just hope they understand that it is because we’ve been locked out by the employer that we had to cancel.”

Woodward noted that although the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association has said its partial lockout, which limits the hours educators can work, does not apply to volunteer extra-curricular activities, there is still a grey area around teachers’ liability and medical coverage.

“Legally, a lockout states that we cannot be working during the lockout times that they defined in the letter, and that is our legal advice,” she said.

“That’s why trips are cancelled.”

Meanwhile, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation announced this week it will continue with rotating one-day strikes again next week due to a lack of progress at the bargaining table.

Okanagan Skaha schools will be closed Friday, while those in Okanagan Similkameen will be shut Thursday.

Teachers have been without a contract since June 2013.

 

Just Posted

People decided to tag Skaha Bluffs rocks which the Ministry has to go in and now clean up. (Facebook)
Bluffs at popular Penticton rock climbing park defaced

Ministry of Environment is going to clean it up

The City of Penticton is beginning plans to revitalize its north entrance on Highway 97. (Jesse Day - Western News)
Penticton reviewing ideas on how to make the city’s north gateway more vibrant

The city has plans to redevelop the area into a welcoming and attractive entrance

A portion of the Kettle Valley Railway Trail near Naramata will be closed temporarily for upgrade work, including paving. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Upgrades plannned for trail near Naramata

Surface improvement work will mean temporary trail closure

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Skaha Bluffs climbing spots. (Monique Tamminga)
New parking lot and picnic area coming to Penticton’s Skaha Bluffs

The city will turn the access point at Crow Place into a parking and picnic area

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.’s Indigenous language, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact they recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Phil McLachlan/(Black Press Media
Man shot at Kamloops shopping centre

The man is believed to be in stable condition

The location of the vehicle incident near Chase that currently has Highway 1 closed in both directions, according to DriveBC. (Black Press staff)
Hwy 1 closed in both directions east of Chase due to vehicle incident

Detour is in effect and drivers are encouraged to reroute to Highway 97 or Highway 97B

Scooters lined up for an educational event in Stuart Park on Wednesday, June 16. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
Free e-scooter safety training in Kelowna

Shared e-scooter operators collaborate to educate riders

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Most Read