UPDATE: Board did notify high school Principals of picket plans last night
The Niagara Catholic District School Board says they notified high school Principals last night that teachers were planning to picket at secondary schools today.
They left it up to each individual Principal to communicate with parents.
The board says it is now dealing with high school students who were delayed in the labour dispute, but were recorded absent.
Officials say they are working to resolve the issue and delayed students will not be marked absent.
The board says in the event of picket lines this afternoon, buses will board students as usual at the normal location.
We have received word that pickets will be set up at Catholic high schools this afternoon, but that has not been confirmed by the board or the union.
Hundreds of angry high school parents were texting and tweeting out their frustration as their children were met with picketers.
Locked out elementary teachers moved their pickets to the local high schools this morning.
We received complaints from parents who said buses were delayed from entering the highschools to drop off students.
A parent's group calling themselves We Love Niagara Teachers organized a rally this afternoon outside the board's Welland office on Rice Road today in support of the locked out teachers.
50 people attended the rally, including Corey Wallace who is the father of a first grade student.
He says he isn't satisfied with the quality of education his son has received since the lock out started and kept him home after Monday.
He says his son attended school on the first day of the lock out, but after learning he only played on a tablet all day he decided to keep him home.
Wallace says he blames the Board for not coming to an agreement with the teachers, when they offered to go back to work.
He wants the government to intervene sooner rather than later.
CKTB reached out to the Minster of Education's office yesterday and received this written statement last night:
"We want parents to know that our government shares their concerns and will do everything we can to support students and parents. A provincial mediator has been involved in the discussions and will continue to assist, if asked to do so by the parties involved. We encourage parties to explore all options available to them to resolve the dispute, including the use of binding arbitration."
Welland MPP Cindy Forster tells CKTB it doesn't seem like Minister Mitzie Hunter is aware of what is happening in Niagara.
She says teachers have been locked out for a week, and that's too long.
Forster believes that teachers should be back in the classroom ASAP while negotiations.
It appears that no new talks or plans are in the works to resolve the lockout, so the lockout will continue into week 2 on Monday March 27th.
Schools will remain open, but programming is significantly impacted.
Norma Medulun Burke – Hotel Dieu Shaver Foundation Chair
Paul Carfagnini – Event Producer