Cranbrook teachers in the Southeast Kootenay School District have won a significant victory for teachers throughout the province in their dispute with the local school board over communicating with parents. The dispute arose when the board refused to allow Grades 4 and 7 teachers to send a BCTF pamphlet critical of the Foundation Skills Assessment home with students.
Arbitrator John Kinzie concluded:
In the result, the union’s grievance succeeds.
I declare that the Employer’s restriction on Grade 4 and Grade 7 teachers using a school’s internal mail delivery system to send home with students for their parents to read the BCTF pamphlet opposing FSA testing violated the teachers’ freedom of expression under Section 2(b) of the Charter.
I further declare that the Employer has not made out a case that an absolute ban on sending this pamphlet out to parents using this means is a “reasonable” limit “demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society” within the meaning of Section 1 of the Charter.
I direct the Employer not to interfere in this manner with its teachers’ freedom of expression concerning FSA testing in the future.
To read the complete ruling go to www.bctf.ca/uploadedFiles/Publications/SummaryOfArbitratorJohnKinzie.pdf.
Congratulation to the teachers in Cranbrook and thank you from all of your colleagues around the province!