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No pickets, no teachers at Chilliwack grad ceremonies

Chilliwack teachers will not be picketing G.W. Graham secondary school's commencement ceremony on Friday, but they also won't be on stage with graduating students either.

G.W. Graham's commencement is this Friday; the same day as Chilliwack's rotating strike action. However, because the ceremony is being held off school district property, teachers have agreed not to picket the event.

While some teachers may choose to view the celebratory proceedings from the audience, they will not in any way be participating as teachers, said Chilliwack Teachers' Association president Clint Johnston.

"To suggest it's not going to change the atmosphere at all would be insincere," said Johnston. "Teachers are a huge part of these events.

"It's an unfortunate consequence of what's happening now. We hope the public understands these types of decisions are not made easy, and that they cause a lot of internal stress for teachers," said Johnston. "These [events] are things we work for all year as well. We want our students to be successful and when there's a chance to celebrate that success, we like to be a part of it."

In an email to The Progress, Chilliwack school district superintendent Evelyn Novak said the school's commencement would go ahead as planned. She did not, however, indicate how the various graduation ceremonies would be managed without teacher support.

This week is the third week teachers have been engaged in stage two of job action, implementing one-day-a-week rotating strikes across the province. Teachers were scheduled to vote on whether or not to implement stage 3, a full stage walkout, Tuesday evening.

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

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