North­side rally held in sup­port of teach­ers

NSTU to vote on lat­est of­fer Wed­nes­day

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVID JALA

Hun­dreds of peo­ple braved Sun­day’s chilly tem­per­a­tures to at­tend a rally in sup­port of Nova Sco­tia teach­ers.

With the wind chill dip­ping well into the mi­nus teens, the warmly dressed crowd, con­sist­ing mostly of par­ents, stu­dents and teach­ers, gath­ered at the North Syd­ney Mall to show their sup­port for the prov­ince’s 9,300 teach­ers, who have been on a work-to-rule cam­paign for all but one week since early De­cem­ber. The rank and file of the Nova Sco­tia Teach­ers Union has twice re­jected con­tract agree­ments and will vote on the lat­est of­fer on Wed­nes­day.

Event or­ga­nizer Lisa Bond said the North Syd­ney rally was among sev­eral, in­clud­ing one in down­town Halifax, held across Nova Sco­tia to show teach­ers that the pub­lic is be­hind them.

“We’re telling them to do what­ever they have to do and we’re say­ing do not be bul­lied into ac­cept­ing a con­tract that’s not fair for them or the stu­dents,” said Bond, who has two sons, ages 12 and 10, in the lo­cal school sys­tem.

“The num­ber of peo­ple here shows that the sup­port is there — the me­dia, at times, tries to put a spin on it that the teach­ers are los­ing sup­port and they’re just not.”

The rally kicked off at 1 p.m. and fea­tured a num­ber of speak­ers, in­clud­ing Diane Power, pres­i­den­t­elect of the Nova Sco­tia Fed­er­a­tion of Home and School As­so­ci­a­tions.

“This is not about money and wages — the real fo­cus of this fight is about class­room con­di­tions,” said the Boularderie res­i­dent, who has two chil­dren that at­tend lo­cal schools.

Be­tween speak­ers, the crowd warmed up as they marched up and down nearby King Street where they re­ceived plenty of honks of sup­port from pass­ing mo­torists.

Back in the mall park­ing lot, Whit­ney Pier French im­mer­sion stu­dent Ella Bot­tom­ley held a sign show­ing her love for teach­ers.

“There are lots of kids in the class­room and there shouldn’t be as many as there are,” said Ella, who was joined at the rally by lit­tle sis­ter Lily and grand­mother Nancy Astephen.

While or­ga­nized lo­cally, the North Syd­ney rally was sup­ported by the Nova Sco­tia Par­ents for Teach­ers, a 17,000-mem­ber group es­tab­lished last Oc­to­ber.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion plans to con­tinue show­ing its sup­port for teach­ers with a so­cial me­dia cam­paign.

DAVID JALA/CAPE BRE­TON POST

A cou­ple of hun­dred peo­ple took to the streets of North Syd­ney on Sun­day dur­ing a rally in sup­port of Nova Sco­tia teach­ers. The af­ter­noon event fea­tured a num­ber of speak­ers, who ad­dressed the crowd from a podium set up in the back of a pick-up truck, and pe­ri­odic marches along nearby King Street.

DAVID JALA/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Stu­dents Ella and Lily Bot­tom­ley were joined by grand­mother Nancy Astephen at a rally in sup­port of Nova Sco­tia teach­ers that was held on Sun­day in North Syd­ney. The rally at­tracted about 200 peo­ple, most car­ry­ing plac­ards, who pe­ri­od­i­cally marched along nearby King Street in the North­side com­mu­nity’s com­mer­cial district.

Power

Bond

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