Sparks flew at a parent demonstration supporting the teachers strike in front of the office of Chilliwack MLA John Les Friday.
A group of parents and their elementary school-aged children had gathered with hand-painted signs reading, "Kids matter, teachers care" and "Net zero isn't bargaining."
The crowd raised the ire of Kathy Nicol, a local grandparent driving by, who got out and told them they ought to be ashamed of themselves for getting young children involved in the labour dispute.
In the shouting match that ensued Nicol said, "This is not the way to teach your children to behave. You can do what you want as an adult, but involving children is not right."
That prompted one parent in the crowd to shout, "The government wants our teachers to sit down and shut up. That's one thing, but I'm sure as hell not going to as a voter."
The parents had pulled their students out of school for the afternoon to demonstrate despite calls from school district officials for parents to dissuade their kids from joining a provincewide student walkout to support teachers.
"While I understand the desire of students to speak out on matters important to them, I do not support this decision to leave school," said superintendent Michael Audet in a letter posted on the school district website. "Friday, March 2 is a regular day of school, and instructional time is very important for learning and teaching. We have lost some days of instruction because of inclement weather and we will lose instructional time next week, too."
The loss of instructional time didn't deter former trustee candidate Audrey Stollings, one of the parents in front of Les's office.
"That's not something that I'm going to worry about," she said. "My kids have good teachers. They'll catch up if they're behind on anything today. But if we don't support the teachers now, they'll be missing a lot more than these next three days and this afternoon."
© Copyright 2013