I always knew I’d learn a lot being a parent, but this is ridiculous.

At time of writing there’s a labour dispute between the BCTF (teacher’s union) and the BC Provincial government (employer). Representatives from each side of the dispute have said their actions are “for the children.” I’m not sure to which children they are referring, but it sure can’t be the ones currently attending school. Maybe it’s some theoretical bunch of children they expect to serve in the future.

So, stop saying you’re doing it for the children.

Field trips, particularly those at the end of the year, are of serious interest to the students. The rotating strikes, work to rule and a partial lockout is a cluster-f that has left these field trips in serious jeopardy of happening.

It would be reasonable for parents to step in to handle supervision of field trips (assuming enough of us could get time off and juggle schedules). This would help keep the dreck of this labour dispute from the kids. Due to impact on our work life, it keeps the parents inconvenienced, raising awareness of the dispute to voters and taxpayers.

However, once you dive into the world of liability and regulations and union rules and so forth, there are only a couple of conclusions one can make.

1. Parents are irresponsible, criminal-minded, cannibalistic baby-eating creatures from 9 AM to 3 PM. No board of education will entrust students to parents during school hours without a school board employee present. Of course after 3 PM we parents are back to our normal selves.

2. None of the regulations allow for the normalization of child experiences at school during a labour dispute. If the Ministry of Ed and the BCTF were really interested in the kids, they’d force the parents to cover curriculum at home, but retain the experiences we can’t replicate. I can teach my daughter fractions, but I can’t simulate the shared learning experience of a field trip with her class.

If the government and union can make up rules regarding lockouts and strikes on the fly, could they please let parents take the kids on field trips?

This is a labour dispute. Plain and simple. The provincial government has an obligation to educate children. They need teachers to do it. Teachers have a union. It is entrusted by its members to obtain the best benefits and salaries possible for its members. The government wants to obtain the required services of teachers for the lowest overall cost possible. See Unifor for auto workers, CUPW for the posties and BCTF for the teachers. Same problem, different alphabet soup.

However, the product is the development and education of children. This is not a negatively impacted EBT (Earnings Before Taxes) or ROI (Return on Investment) situation.

Some of these children will be managing and operating the health care system of the future — a system we’ll all need.