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I read with interest Ian Gillespieís column,"Teachersí pain really hurts kids." I know that some teachers will not agree with my opinion that Ianís comments relating to extra-curricular were hard to read/accurate that innocent kids are caught in the middle. Reminds me of two parents in the midst of a divisive divorce using their children to try to get back at each other.

The raison díetre for many students to enjoy school was to be involved with athletics, plays, debating clubs,
orchestra and dozens of other programs after school which are now cancelled by the federations. Teachers are no longer available after school for tutoring for students to help them achieve their credits. School trips are banned and the cordiality between students and their teachers to learn outside the classroom is now cancelled.

The vast majority of teachers if given the democratic choice are able to make judgement calls of what is in the best interest of their students and themselves. Many teachers would gladly give of their time for extra-curricular if they were not ostracized and forced to conform to the dictates of the federations.

At the stoke of a pen the federations have canceled these enjoyable programs that will in the long run hurt the role of teacher in the eyes of students and their parents. Many parents will transfer their children to the
Catholic/Christian, and private schools in order not to have no disruptions in their childrenís education. The Thames Valley School Board will have a lot more empty seats next year resulting in teacher lay-offs and cut backs.

The federations have decided to take the new legislation by the government to court to have them declared null and void. There is new leader of the Liberal Party to be held next week and perhaps the federations and the government can reach a new accord. If all else fails the teachers can work to ensure that the Provincial Liberals are defeated in the next election and replaced by the NDP.

Hurting thousands of students by taking away extra-curricular activities is wrong and in the long run will not change the legislation. To deny students hurts the positive persona of the role of teachers in their studentís parents and the general public opinion.

Len Lesser is a retired high school teacher

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com