Strikes threaten grade 12 students
St. John's, Newfoundland
By Jonathan Brown (Grade 12)
Earlier this month, students under the jurisdiction of the Avalon East School Board almost found themselves on an extended vacation when support workers went on strike. As welcome as a few days off would have been, many third level, university-bound students were worried by memories of the month-long teachers' strike three years ago. Grade 12 students at the time were forced to hold demonstrations to show their fears regarding the effect the strike would have on their post-secondary education.
A major interruption in the school year would spell disaster for the students in their final year of highschool, especially those applying to universities. Not only would the backlog of work have made it difficult to complete courses, but the strike would have been right at the time when students were preparing applications for universities and looking for documents from the school, not to mention assistance with the applications themselves.
Luckily for these students, the strike was deemed illegal and the support workers were forced back to work. Before they strike again, their union must sign an "Essential Services Agreement", meaning that they would have to keep a certain number of workers on the job in the event of a walk out. Whether or not this means high schools will stay open in such a situation is unknown.
The threat of a strike still hangs above our heads and is only worsened by the possibly of a teachers' strike. In the meantime, Grade 12 students pray that they will survive their final year and escape Newfoundland's sinking ship of an education system before it goes bottom up.