Closed school gate in Taibe.
(photo credit: Ariel Ben Solomon)
The Secondary School Teachers Association renewed its strike on Sunday, canceling all annual class trips and all activities outside school premises until further notice.
The decision to renew the strike and cancel all trips beginning March 1, 2015, was announced by the association last week after stating that negotiations with the Education Ministry to meet its demands had failed to progress.
The association initially announced the step in January in an effort to pressure the ministry to meet its demand that teachers not be liable for any criminal charges regarding the students’ safety and well-being on school trips.
A hearing was held in the Jerusalem Labor Court on Sunday to discuss an injunction filed jointly by the National Parents Association, the National Student and Youth Council, the Union of Local Authorities, and the Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem municipalities to prevent the teachers’ work stoppage.
As of press time no court decision had been announced as to whether the strike would continue Monday.
“The National Student Council will help you [the students] maintain your outside school activities that were scheduled, without allowing the teachers’ work stoppage to cancel them,” the National Student Council posted on its Facebook page ahead of the court hearing, in an attempt to reassure students.
In January, the council declared a nationwide threeday student strike in response to the cancellation of the annual class trips by the association.
The council then called on all high school students to take alternative class trips. The announcement was made in collaboration with the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, which agreed to chaperon the student trips in parks throughout the country.
Following this move and an increased effort in negotiations by all parties involved, the association announced it had reached an agreement with the ministry and resumed all class field trips. In turn, the National Student Council canceled its planned three-day strike after only one day, and students returned to classes.
Ministry director-general Michal Cohen wrote an open letter to school principals and educators at the onset of the January strike, stating that the ministry invests “great resources” in ensuring the safety and well-being of students and teachers alike on class trips, including training and preparing educators for the trips.
As such, she said, “the ministry established procedures to ensure the frameworks for trips and accompanies them through control and supervision.”
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