Evening Christmas concerts cancelled

Some schools are cancelling Christmas concerts or holding them during the day instead of the evening this year due to teacher job action.

Some schools are cancelling Christmas concerts or holding them during the day this year due to teacher job action.

Derek DeGear, president of the Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association, said schools that want to hold the concerts are still able to, but they must be scheduled during the regular workday.

“The issue with the Christmas concert is it’s a school-wide event run through the office,” he said.

Job action, which consists of teachers refusing to do duties such as playground supervision, report cards and attending most staff meetings, started in September. Teachers’ contracts expired in June.

While the nighttime Christmas concerts are not permitted by the job action, evening performances voluntarily organized by a teacher, such as band or drama events, are still allowed, DeGear added.

Donna Reimer, school district spokeswoman, said it is up to teachers to decide if they will organize a Christmas concert and what classes would be involved.

“It’s going to be different from school to school,” she said. “It has to be voluntary.”

Last year, 18 elementary schools had Christmas concerts and 11 had craft/fun nights.

Reimer said she knows of 20 elementary schools organizing daytime concerts and seven schools that will not have one this year.

Some schools not doing the concert did not have one last year either, she added.

Hollie Tarasewich, president of the District Parent Advisory Council, said she knows that parents of students at Georgia Avenue Elementary School are disappointed that the concert was cancelled this year, but there would not have been much reason to hold a daytime event, as many parents in the area are unable to make it during the day.

“Everybody looks forward to the Christmas concert – it’s the good stuff,” she said. “Probably 60 to 70 per cent of the population comes out for the evening.”

Students will participate in a singalong event instead, Tarasewich added.