By Lime Blake
With files by Amber Daugherty
Extra curricular activities are expected to make a comeback to Ontario public schools, but the decision to volunteer is up to the individual faculty members, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation president Ken Coran said at a press conference today.
CTV News reported Coran said the union will “respect our individual members’ decisions, and we’ll protect them on a go-forward basis.” Coran’s press conference comes after the union’s provincial council voted Friday to recommend teachers return to extra-curriculars.
680 News reported Coran believes the silent majority, made up of 60 per cent of teachers, are wary to make any decisions, as they wish to hear back from the province in regards to what “concrete” actions will be taken next.
“We still maintain that voluntary activities are just that: voluntary,” Coran said in a statement posted on the OSSTF website following Friday’s vote. “We encourage members to review recent information and decide if they are willing to return to participating in the activities we know they feel so passionately about.”
The Globe and Mail reported Coran said there’s a chance Grade 8 students looking at their educational options for the following term will instead look to Catholic high schools or private institutions, which have not been affected by the disruption brought on by Bill 115.l.
“We’re not quite sure we’ve gained much out of this,” athletic director at Frontenac Secondary School in Kingston Suche James told Humber News reporter Amber Daugherty.
James, who coaches Frontenac’s senior boys’ basketball team, said the news is confusing for the 98 per cent of faculty who have suspended overseeing extra curricular activities.
“We have some issues to work out with ourselves and probably some issues to work out with the school board on how to best proceed with this announcement,” he said.
James told Humber News he has high hopes that with the support of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and her experience within the education system, things will be resolved between the government, the OSSTF union members, and Ontario’s secondary public school boards.
While James said he is “miffed” there have been consistent cuts to high school team sports over the last decade, he said the one positive thing about Monday’s announcement is that extra curricular activities have been pushed into the spotlight, which means there is a hope that lacking resources over the past 10 years will finally be delivered.
Listen to Amber Daugherty’s report here: