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Parents angered by strike action

Chilliwack's parent advocate says it's high time parents get their voices heard in the teacher dispute.

After months of supporting teachers, Gord Byers, president of the Chilliwack District Parents' Advisory Council, was fuming at both sides over the weekend.

Byers son, a Grade 6 student at Strathcona elementary, missed out on a right-of-passage elementary school graduation celebration.

It was the last straw for Byers.

"Ours is just one story … everybody is being used as pawns," said Byers.

"We need to get more parents' voices out there, because this is ridiculous. It's BS. I'm not putting up with this."

Byers wasn't the only one.

Social media was abuzz all weekend with parents weighing in.

"This dispute, regardless who's at fault, has just crushed my daughter," wrote parent Trinity Lee Melanson on the Real Life in Chilliwack Facebook group page.

Melanson's daughter is in Grade 6 at Robertson elementary.

"These kids wanted to actually finish their school year and not be victims in your dispute… Now, I have a very real face to remind me of all this stupidity. Every time I look into my daughter's face, and I see the disappointment in her eyes, the tears rolling down her face… how dare you take that from her. Shame on the lot of you."

Another parent, Justin Burnette, wrote: "Bottom line, if the reasoning is 'for the kids' why strike and fight [at a time] when it matters most to these kids?

"I have no respect for [the teachers'] decision."

But on the Chilliwack DPAC Facebook page, parent Trisha Mercer felt the strike was long overdue. Mercer has two children in the school system with learning disabilities.

"It took three years for the proper assessment for each of my children," she wrote. "Now that I have it, I'm told there is no funding for extra support. I've watched our educators perform miracles day after day trying to be as equally attentive to each student. They can only do so much with what they have.

"At this moment, in my opinion, there is no room for children with learning disabilities in the public sector."

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

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