Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Special needs taken care of during job action: BCTF

The representative for children and youth is concerned special needs kids will be affected by a teach-only campaign in the fall, but the teachers' union says the education and well-being of students is their first priority.

Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond told reporters this morning after signing an MOU on Aboriginal education with the First Nations Education Steering Committee that she's concerned children with special needs will suffer from a teach-only campaign by the province's public school teachers.

"The decision has been taken by the (teachers) that they will not attend administrative meetings, for instance, in September. It's important for me that they make an exception and agree to go to meetings for children with special needs, so the teachers can know what the special needs are and accommodate them in the classroom," says Turpel-Lafond.

"Many of those children with special needs are Aboriginal children; if we decide we're not going to go to meetings and we're not going to focus on their learning, we could lose a year, and I can't see that happen."

The teachers union voted last week to participate in a teach-only job action campaign starting September 6 if a collective bargaining agreement is not reached with their employers, the BC Public School Employers Association, by then. Teach-only means teachers will not participate in staff meetings or other non-teaching, administrative duties. The two sides have been at the bargaining table since March, but recently broke off talks for the summer.

But Jim Iker, first vice-president of the BC Teachers' Federation, says meetings about special needs students' Individualized Education Plans (IEP), the program adaptions and special services required for each child with special needs, will take place in the fall with or without the participation of school administration.

"We're still going to be dealing with IEPs, but that piece of the work will happen during the instructional day, and any meetings regarding IEPs members will attend and members will deal with those, and some of those meetings will go on without the administrators," he says, adding the BCTF is meeting with the representative in August to discuss the matter further.

Katie Hyslop reports on education for the Tyee Solutions Society, and is a freelance reporter for a number of other outlets including The Tyee.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus