CUPE, which represents about 7500 school support workers across Quebec, salutes the Strategy to Value School Personnel unveiled yesterday by Education Minister, Jean-François Roberge. For CUPE, this strategy finally recognizes that, beyond teaching, there are a multitude of essential trades in schools, which must be recognized and supported. The sixteen actions announced are promising in that they take into account the needs of all education workers as they relate to all school activities.

However, this positive development notwithstanding, CUPE adds that further government intervention will be needed to stabilize staffing levels and services to students in the context of a labour shortage and a drawn-out pandemic.

“The upcoming public sector negotiations will be crucial to improving the quality of teaching and school services. In the shorter term, however, today we would like to raise the issue of verbal and physical violence in schools, which is not only ongoing but getting worse. In recent years, the frequency and seriousness of these incidents have been abnormally high. Something is going on, and the trend worries us,” commented Richard Delisle, the vice-president of CUPE Quebec, who is responsible for the education sector.

“Our members have completed several incident reports, and the problem has resulted in labour relations work in school service centres. However, the results have been slow in coming, probably due to the fact that the root causes run deep. That is why we have decided today to get out the message that large-scale action is needed to counter violence of this type so that our schools become places where trust, safety, inclusion, belonging and peace are the order of the day,” said Delisle.