Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Thousands of Ontario Students Kept from School amid Strikes, Sex-Ed Protests

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Thousands of Ontario Students Kept from School amid Strikes, Sex-Ed Protests

Article excerpt

Peel Region teachers join growing strike

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TORONTO - Tens of thousands of students around Ontario will be out of class this week as a third school board is hit with a teachers' strike, while some parents are expected to pull their kids from school to protest the province's new sex-education curriculum.

Peel Region high school teachers hit the picket lines Monday morning after talks to avert a strike failed.

The Peel District School Board and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federationbargained past the midnight strike deadline but were unable to reach an accord.

It means there will be no classes today for the district's 42,000 secondary school students.

Teacher strikes are also ongoing in Rainbow District, encompassing Sudbury and its surrounding regions, and in Durham Region, east of Toronto, where 24,000 students have been kept from class since April 20.

This is the first round of negotiations since the province brought in a new bargaining system, with both local and provincial talks.

Monetary issues are being handled centrally, and the education minister has said it's not clear to her what local issues have prompted the boards to strike.

The province is still trying to hammer out central agreements with both high school and elementary teachers.

Ontario's elementary teachers will be in a legal strike position on May 10.

And Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation said Monday that central bargaining with the province and its school board partners had broken down. While no future bargaining dates have been scheduled, the OSSTF said it was ready to resume negotiations at any time.

Central talks between the OSSTF, the province and school boards were previously suspended in mid April, but resumed a few days later.

On another front, some parents are expected to pull their kids from Ontario's schools this week to protest the province's new sex-education curriculum.

A Facebook group is encouraging parents who oppose the sex-ed curriculum to keep their kids home in protest. The group has garnered more than 7,000 "likes," and while some of the messages posted on the page are from outside Ontario, the head of a Toronto-area school board expects the protest will affect classes in her region, at least on Monday. …

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