Extra-curriculars cancelled by TLDSBdecision

By Darren Lum

Published Feb. 4 2020

Teachers parents and students aredisappointed by the Trillium Lakelands District School Board'sdecision to cancel all extra-curricular activities at secondaryschools made at the board's public meeting on Tuesday Jan. 28.

TLDSB director of education Larry Hopesaid this decision was made as a result of the strike action by theOntario Secondary School Teachers' Federation which moved to notallow teachers to cover for absent teachers.

Weknow this is unpopular as it has resulted in teachers not beingreleased from their teaching duties to participate with students inleague play or tournament events during the instructional day. We didnot take this decision lightly and are aware that this is not anideal situation. It is important to note however that our decisionwas made with the goal of protecting classroom programming to thefullest extent possible. For us this means we want to make use ofthe limited number of secondary supply teachers to support classroomprogramming first and foremost” he wrote.

In an OSSTF press release itreferenced the current collective agreement in regards to supplyteachers.

"The number ofoccasional (supply) teachers on TLDSB’s list is limited in thecollective agreement between OSSTF and TLDSB in order to ensure thatthere is both adequate availability of occasional teachers andadequate work for those teachers” it reads.

Sheddenwrote an email about the availability of supply teachers “We haveinterviewed candidates and are waiting for responses or documentationfrom some candidates to finalize their placement on the list.”

According to an OSSTF press releasesent by district 15 representative Colin Matthew following themeeting parents and students at the meeting questioned why theschool board is the only one in the province to take this stance.

Father Jan Haedicke of Haliburton has adisappointed son in his fifth year at Haliburton Highlands SecondarySchool who is likely without a hockey season to play and is likelyto leave to find work until autumn. The athletic season of all winter sports  was in peril since the Kawartha District Athletic Association imposed a Jan. 31 deadline on Jan. 23 which coincided with a membership meeting for members "to finalize the winter season schedules and playoffs." The failure to commit to schedules would put an individual athlete or teams to be declared 'Not in Good Standing' and "unable to participate in any Kawartha District Sport at any level until their schools are deemed to have regained  'Good Standing." The decision from the meeting is not known at this time. There was hope for a possible extension depending on the sport.

Haedicke is a Red Hawks alumnusand may have not been at the meeting but shares the same questionabout the board being the only one in the province.

From a Lindsay Advocate article TLDSBdistrict manager of corporate communications Catherine Sheddenconfirmed the following comment “We cannot speak to the decisionsof other school boards. We can only respond to the decision made byTLDSB. And in TLDSB classroom programming is our priority. In TLDSBwe would have to collapse classrooms and have administratorssupervising large numbers of students and classes in libraries andgymnasiums which is not conducive to our priority of maintainingoptimal classroom programming.”

Haedicke can't imagine his finalschool year without athletics.

“It is something you look forward tobecause not everyone is interested in the academics right? So peoplewho are into athletics it kind of balances it out. Without that theydon't really want to go to school anymore” he said.