• The following statement was issued by the Commissioner of Education, Kalmar Richards…

It is our students who suffer when school instruction time is intentionally interrupted. Every educator, whether they be at the Department of Education or in the classroom, works for and on behalf of students. When there are issues to be resolved, the teaching, learning and educational services must not stop for our children,” said Commissioner of Education, Kalmar Richards. “The position of looking to resolve any issues after school hours has been shared previously with the BUT Executives.

The Department of Education functions to provide service and support for students, parents and school staff.  When there is an individual or collective concern from teachers or staff, the BUT was asked to follow the grievance process outlined in their Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Agreement sets out the procedure for having concerns addressed by the Department of Education, and the timeframe allocated to do so.

I can confirm that no Grievance Forms have been submitted to the Department of Education from staff at the Elliott Primary School or Dellwood Middle School; and because the actions taken by staff at these schools this week Monday and Tuesday did not follow the procedure outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Department of Education has involved the Labour Office. It is necessary to involve the Labour Office as there has been three previous instances since the start of the current school year when BUT members have not followed the grievance procedures. This week now makes for a total of five (5) times when the BUT membership has breached their Collective Bargaining Agreement.

I can report that the Labour Office has reached out to both the Department of Education and the BUT to request a meeting date. The Department looks forward to meeting with the BUT to discuss these and other concerns.

Further, the BUT must place children first when taking action and they must also be willing to have concerns addressed under the condition that teaching, learning and services do not stop for our children.

Therefore, moving forward, I would like to see the BUT make a commitment to our students and parents, and to publicly give them the reassurance that no more school days will be lost when the Department of Education and the BUT members work to resolve any issues that may arise. I can assure our parents that the Department of Education team will commit to meeting with teachers and the BUT after school hours whenever there are concerns and/or issues to be resolved.