Building Security Practices and Procedures
The recent tragic loss of life at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas has us all shocked. Yet, given the frequency of such heinous events, one is left to wonder why anyone would be shocked at all. As we all know through our practice, the incidence of workplace violence in schools has been increasing over the years. And, despite our tendencies to think of Canada as a land with gun safety, a quick search of the Google will reveal that we aren't immune to such extreme forms of violence. Violence is becoming normalized - a hazard one presumably accepts when entering the education sector. This cannot be the path forward. We can do better. The Board can do better.
In the wake of any violent act, it is imperative that the Board examine its security policies and practices to apply any learnings which might be gleaned from the event. In the case of Uvalde, it is believed that the shooter gained entry to the building through an exterior door which was not properly secured. Though questions linger on the specifics, it certainly gives reason for all schools to examine their security practices to ensure that any gaps are addressed.
In advocating for worker safety, the OECTA office reached out to the Board on May 26, the day after the Uvalde shooting, to request information about the HWCDSB building security policies and procedures. Our inquiry was met with silence. A follow-up email was sent on May 30. The Board, as of writing this, remains unresponsive, Surely, this is an easy one for the Board to knock out of the park - a softball over the middle of the plate. All exterior doors locked at all times. Keyless entry cards/fobs for all staff who rightfully ought to have access to the building. Rather than work with its partners in education, the Board chooses to ignore glaring security issues. Sadly, this is yet another example of the priority your employer places on the health and safety of education workers. Shame!
Benjamin Franklin once quipped, "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." In the absence of authentic leadership, we are calling upon our members to fill the void. Examine your workplace for potential security issues including, though not limited to, exterior doors which do not latch without the need to give it a push or nudge. Report these security issues to your health and safety representative. Request that identified issues are recorded in the monthly health and safety inspection, and then check the inspection record (posted on the Health and Safety bulletin board) to ensure proper documentation. If the Board is not responding to identified concerns, contact the OECTA office for assistance. We can do better. The Board can do better. Working together, we can improve the safety of our workplaces.
Workplace Violence Reporting
Why Report Violent Incidents
When a Violent Incident Occurs
Safe Schools Incident Report
Completed if a student is involved and criteria outlined on the form are met.
WSIB Form 6
Completed if injured and require healthcare and/or time away from work.
If violence is being reported and steps are not being taken to support the student and the workers involved, please reach out to the OECTA office for guidance. Everyone has the right to a violence-free workplace!
In Harm's Way: Epidemic of Violence
Teacher Transfer Process Updates
Remaining Dates in Transfer Process
On June 8, all teachers who were not placed after round 3 (and who do not have a position for next year) will receive a list of all vacant positions.
On June 9, a Teams link will be circulated to the above-described teachers for a meeting after school to select from the available positions (selections based on seniority).
More details will come in the very near future via Board email.
From the Treasurer's Desk
Report Card Comment Banks
Recently, the Board announced that it will be updating its Student Information System to a web-based application called Aspen. As part of the process, the database of personal report card comments teachers have crafted over the years will be migrated to Aspen. Ideally, this process will unfold without a hitch, and your personalized comments will be transferred into Aspen without any glitches. In reflection of the hours of work that goes into writing report comments, members are urged to consider the advice given in Memorandum 410 - Download and/or print your personal comment bank after you have completed your June reports.
Should you require any additional support, please submit a support request using the online helpdesk system https://helpdesk.hwcdsb.ca.
OECTA Hamilton-Wentworth Family Festival Cancelled
Please be advised that the family festival schedule for June 3 has been cancelled due to a tepid response. We hope to offer other opportunities in the future for our members to gather together and rekindle friendships.