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Media Advisory

Sydney Teachers aides will be taking a message to their employer tomorrow afternoon in the form of a silent protest. Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 5050 are planning a silent information picket in front of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board offices on George Street, Thursday from 3-4 p.m.

The school board is telling teachers aides they are not allowed to speak publicly about the cuts to their hours of work, says CUPE national rep Barb Kowalski. We say the school board is violating their right to freedom of speech.

Several teachers aides have received disciplinary letters from the CBVR School Board for expressing their opinions about education cuts in letters to the editor. The school board is threatening further disciplinary action if the TAs continue to denounce their employer publicly.

The school board does not have the right to issue gag orders to its employees when it comes to issues that affect the public, Kowalski says. Under a Federal Court ruling a public servant who speaks out on behalf of the greater good can not be sanctioned.

Kowalski says the employees are concerned about safety and quality of education for their special needs students.

The Charter of Rights says that all children are entitled to an education. Cutting teachers aides by half an hour per day is cutting 2 hours of learning per week from those children who rely on their aides to interpret classroom instruction for them.

Kowalski says the employees are inviting school board members to drop by the office tomorrow and pick up a leaflet.

But dont expect to speak to anyone, says Kowalski. Theyll be wearing gags.

For more information please call Barb Kowalski at (902) 539-4933

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