Volume 94, Issue 18


Band was never scheduled: agent

BOG sets mandate against sweatshops

Weldon fails grade

Trudeau dead at 80

Hockey's changing face

High schools may turn to parents for help

Line-ups force cancer patients to the US

High schools may turn to parents for help

By Mike Murphy
Gazette Staff

London-area high schools may turn to parents and community members to run the extra-curricular activities teachers have refused to supervise.

"I personally haven't seen anyone coming forward but I know a lot of people will do anything they can to help out," said Marc Ross, a member of student council at Catholic Central High School.

"Anything that will work, we're in favour of," Ross said, adding his football team had been practicing under two non-teachers before a teacher returned from illness to resume coaching.

Ross said his team is practicing despite the possibility of a cancelled season if other schools can not find coaches.

The Thames Valley Regional Athletic Association called a meeting Tuesday to gauge teacher willingness to coach sports, said Sam Galati, public affairs and community relations manager for the Thames Valley District School Board. The meeting drew about 50 teacher coaches and staff advisors, he said.

"They had 50 people at the office, but 50 people for two whole school boards, that's not many," said Linda Ploen, a parent and chair of the Saunders secondary school council.

Ploen said there seems to be some support from parents and community members to coach extra-curricular activities, but it could be difficult to fit them into supervising roles.

"It wouldn't be a good idea to have just any old parent come in," Ploen said, explaining she thought some sort of screening process would probably be needed.

Peter Askey, executive superintendent of program services for the Thames Valley School Board, said the board will allow non-sports activities to be run by parents, but every sports team will need a teacher supervisor on the bench.

He said teams need a trained educator on hand to ensure student safety as well as to deal appropriately with any discipline problems.

"What we're going to do is see where we can make a good fit," he said, adding volunteers would have to undergo some sort of screening.

Teachers are staying away from extra-curriculars because the provincial government's Bill 64 has increased their workload unreasonably, said Ken Coran, president of District 11 for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation. "We've never been opposed to community members coming in to assist with extra-curriculars," he added.

Ministry of Education spokesperson, Rob Savage, said the government would condone community involvement.

"There have been situations in the past where parents or community members have had to supervise extra-curricular activities and that can continue."

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