Parents of students at Brentwood Bay’s Bayside Middle School are outraged with the school’s sudden decision to cancel the annual Grade 7 Quebec trip.
Approximately 40 Grade 7 French Immersion students were planning to attend the field trip, parents say, and are crushed by the news they received that it had been cancelled indefinitely.
“If you’re going to be cancelling this program indefinitely, why not finish this and then phase it out?” said parent Alyson Dahl. “Parents have already paid their deposit, kids are excited.”
Saanich School District Superintendent Dave Eberwein told Black Press Media on Nov. 27 that the trip was cancelled because it was inaccessible for many of the school’s students.
The trip to Quebec is “an expensive field trip that excludes many students because of the cost,” he said, adding that the school is looking into alternatives that “provide a rich cultural experience with the concept of inclusivity and making sure everyone feels valued and included.”
But parents said that wasn’t the message they received at a meeting on Nov. 28.
Dahl said they were told the teacher who was supposed to chaperone the trip no longer felt comfortable doing so. She added parents are now speculating whether the decision is linked to the district’s recent support workers’ strike – or an intended strike next year.
Dahl said the trip costs about $2,500 per student and families who need financial support were fundraising for the expense. She, herself, had specifically chosen the school because of the opportunity for her son to go on the Quebec trip.
“To say it is inequitable is really unfair when they haven’t actually spoken to parents,” Dahl said. “I think it’s the strike, I think the kids missing three weeks of school is putting too much stress on the teachers.”
Parent David Burton is also unhappy.
“I’m annoyed at the way it’s been handled,” he said. “The first day back from the strike, the teachers told the students the trip was cancelled … If they decided they were going to cancel it they should have informed the parents first.”
“My son, Josh, has been looking forward to this trip for years,” he added. “It’s really unfair to switch it on the kids at this point.”
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