January 26, 2005

The Honourable Gerard Kennedy

Minister of Education

22 nd Floor, Mowat Block, Queen’s Park

Toronto, ON   M7A 1L2

Dear Minister:

Media reports today quote David Reid, Director of Education for the Toronto District School Board as saying that “principals at several schools reported a growing number of fights in the yard and hallways yesterday as education workers declined to supervise children outside the classroom”.

Minister, our students and their safety should not be allowed to be used as pawns in contract negotiations.   I call on you to immediately outline what action you will take to protect students in affected schools and ensure that teachers, principals and administrators have the necessary resources to carry out their responsibilities during the school day.

In your press announcement on December 7, 2004 you took credit for increased stability in our schools.   Today, parents, teachers, principals and students are experiencing uncertainty and fear as a result of the work-to-rule strategy in the Toronto District School Board.   Strike votes taking place across the province are averaging 96% in favour of strike action.   In fact, the President of the Thames Valley Elementary Teachers Association is quoted as saying that their strike vote at 96% is the strongest strike vote ever cast in their history.

 

These actions, combined with today’s reports, will only fuel students’ and parents’ fears for safety and stability.   The reality contradicts your claims of stability.

Students, parents, teachers and administrators must be reassured that their schools are safe places.    As Minister of Education, I call on you to outline what steps you are taking to ensure student safety and stability in light of serious concerns being expressed by Mr. Reid and principals throughout the Toronto District School Board.

I look forward to your prompt response.

Yours sincerely,

Frank Klees, MPP

P.C. Education Critic

Queen's Park Office: Room 447-Legislative Building- Queen's Park-Toronto, Ontario-Tel. (416) 325-7316-Fax (416) 325-1573

Web Page Address www.frank-klees.on.ca - E-mail: fklees@frank-klees.on.ca