The following letter was sent by ETT President Martin Long to the Toronto Star on May 14, 2013 in response to an article titled “Some Schools Still Not Running Teams Even Though Official Teacher Boycott is Over.“
While the word “boycott,” even in quotes, is not an accurate description of the situation in TDSB schools today, it should come as no surprise that it is not business as usual in the realm of voluntary activities undertaken by teachers.
The community is coming to realize the extent to which teachers have been willing to take on clubs, trips, teams, etc., over the years, entirely without compensation, and frequently without much by way of a word of thanks.
Teacher participation in voluntary activities is a commitment based entirely on good will. Surely it will come as no surprise that such good will remains a commodity in short supply for many of us. The government suspended our constitutional rights and stripped our contracts. When our response to this assault included adjustments to how the Progress Reports were written in November (although still in line with the Ministry requirements) the Toronto board chose to respond with a heavy hand. To many of us it felt like we were being kicked when we were down, in contrast to other boards which were taking a more conciliatory position on the matter.
Trustee Shelley Laskin has been misinformed if she believes no teacher has been disciplined over this trivial matter, and the Board continues to pick at the wound by spending resources in pursuit of this issue, resources which could be much better used protecting programs for students and restoring good will in the teacher workforce.
It is time to move forward. The Toronto board has it within its power, at no expense, to proceed on the path of reconciliation. I challenge them to do so.