London parents react to elementary teachers strike

Elementary students in the Thames Valley were off today as the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) entered their third day of rotating strikes this week.

With the schools closed, parents were left trying to figure out what to do with their kids for the day.

Brook Nethersole was on her way to drop her son off at daycare this morning and said it was a struggle trying to find a place for him to go.

“It definitely is costly, and it is more difficult to find because areas are already filled up because other parents are trying to find something,” she said.

Nethersole said, however, the teachers are doing the right thing.

“A lot of people think they are fighting for their salaries, which isn’t the case,” she said. “They are fighting for our future, which is our kids.”

Bill Lewis, a grade 4 teacher at White Oaks Public School, said their main concerns are violence in schools, larger class sizes and kids with special needs.

“We are trying to keep the supports we have in our classrooms for kids with special needs, and we need much more in our classroom for kids with special needs because often they are the ones that are neglected.”

Lewis was one of around 200 teachers out on the picket line Wednesday at White Oakes Public School.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said higher wages is the sticking point in negotiations with all of the primary teachers’ unions.

For other parents, like stay at home mom Tanya Nam, it was a bit easier figuring out what to do for the day.

Nam’s daughter is in grade 2, and they were spending the morning sledding with two other classmates Nan was looking after for the day.

Talking about the strike, Nam said she understands both sides but thinks it’s important to support the teachers.

“They raise our kids; school is like their second home, so we should support them as much as we can with everything.”


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