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Parents rally in support of striking teachers

About 50 parents, students and supporters held a demonstration outside MLA Laurie Throness
About 50 parents, students and supporters held a demonstration outside MLA Laurie Throness' office on Vedder Road in support of teachers on what was supposed to be the first day of school Tuesday.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

A protest about the teachers’ labour dispute organized by parents attracted a crowd of about 50 people on Tuesday morning outside the offices of Chilliwack-Hope MLA Laurie Throness.

“I will do anything to get their education back on track,” said Tammy Pope, a local mom who was one of the parents at the rally.

She has four children in the public school system, ranging from Grade 1 to Grade 11.

“My children are my passion, and they need to be in school,” said Pope.

Her position is that the government needs to break the impasse and start talking with the teachers to find a resolution.

“There needs to be some wiggle room with this,” she said. “But ultimately I support my teachers.”

As a parent volunteer for 12 years, she has spent many hours in the classroom, and the school, helping out the librarian and with the reading program for example.

She’s growing worried about how her 15-year-old son will be impacted by the ongoing dispute.

“This will affect his scholarships, his bursaries and his learning,” Pope said.

“If he has a shortened semester, how is he going to learn? I can’t teach him physics.”

She’s been advocating and fighting for services for her kids for years.

Her son is now an A student, after struggling with mediocre grades.

“I have spent a lot of time in the classroom. As the mother of a Kindergartener, I saw how many ESL students and undiagnosed learning disabilities the teachers had to deal with. A child who needs an Education Assistant is not scheduled to get one.

“So I’m very frustrated,” Pope added. “Sitting at home isn’t going to make a difference.”

That’s why she attended the rally of parents at the MLA’s office.

“I don’t know if they’re even talking. People should be outraged that the government wouldn’t negotiate with teachers all summer long.”

The sign being held up by one her children at the protest said it all, she figures. The sign read: “I am your future.”

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