Families in B.C. organize to support teachers

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Photo: flickr/Caelie_Frampton

As the dispute between the B.C. government and teachers enters its fourth month, families in B.C. are organizing actions to show support for teachers.  

As the labour action continues and schools remain closed, a number of fundraising campaigns and demonstrations have sprung up to show solidarity with B.C. teachers.

Parents are organizing playdates for their children at local MLA offices. The protests are filled with colourful sidewalk chalk, games and storytelling are meant to continue until the teachers' strike is resolved and schools open.

An online food bank drive for teachers has already raised over $3,000. The fundraiser is providing support for teachers who have suffered financially because of the strike. It is raising money to support temporary food banks for teachers and their families who are unable to make ends meet.

The dispute between the government and teachers should be important to everyone in B.C., according to organizer Naomi Lazarus.

"Every part of our society, economy, our way of life, is based on the fundamental foundations of the education of children," she said, "This is something that every citizen of B.C., every person who lives in B.C. should care about because it affects everyone."

Teachers and parents are partners and require support from one another, added Lazarus.

"Teachers are our partners… their role in our children's lives is monumental -- it's incredibly important -- every parent should be aware of that and show their support."

Parents have also created a website called Families Funding Teachers to show their frustration with the government's decision to compensate them during the dispute. For every B.C. student who aged 12 or under, parents can apply to receive $40 for each day the child missed school during the dispute. The initiative will cost B.C. taxpayers about $12 million a day. The Families Funding Teachers' site enables parents to regift the $40-a-day stipend to the BC Teachers Federation strike fund. Already the site has garnered over $10,000 in donations.

Organizer Kate Milberry said that after hearing about the plan she immediately wanted to give the money to teachers. Through social media she connected with others who felt the same. "It's important for families -- and all British Columbians --to show solidarity with the teachers because this is a broader issue," she said.

"We want our kids in school -- not day care," the site says. "We want our teachers paid well and fairly. We want our students who need extra help to get it. We demand quality public education for our children. They deserve nothing less."

Miriam Katawazi is a fourth-year journalism and human rights student at Carleton University and rabble's news intern. She has a strong passion for human rights and social justice in Canada and across the world. Her writing focuses on health, labour, education and human rights beats.

Photo: flickr/Caelie_Frampton

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