UPDATE: Minister orders school board to stop librarian layoffs

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Students at Springhill High walked out of class Wednesday afternoon in protest of the Chignecto Central Regional School Board’s decision to cut 41 librarian positions on the heels of a $6.5 million shortfall in the provincial budget.

UPDATE: Nova Scotia Education Minister Ramona Jennex has ordered the Chignecto Central Regional School Board to stop its proposed layoffs of librarians this afternoon. In a statement read in Legislature, the Minister says she has written the board telling them not to finalize their budget.

SPRINGHILL – Students checked-out of class early at Springhill High in protest of the proposed cuts to 41 librarian positions made by the Chignecto Central Regional School Board.

At 2 p.m. Wednesday, approximately 200 students walked out of class and assembled in front of the school where they sat down and quietly read a book, courtesy of their school library. Similar protests took place in Amherst and Truro.

“We don’t like the fact they’re going to cut librarians,” student Shelby Crowe said. “It’s unfair to the junior high students who will never get to know the benefits seniors have had with a library… it’s not just a library. A lot of people go to the librarian for help with on projects. It’s not like she walked off the street and got the job. She went to school for six years to qualify and now all that’s for nothing.”

Students credited their librarian for creating a culture where they can work on assignments, receive guidance on their school work or learn outside of their curriculum. Just as important, they said, the library is a bully-free zone thanks to their librarian.

“It's not just a library. It’s a safe place where people care,” Taylor White said. “Really, what can a bully do there? They have to be quiet and if not they have to leave.”

As if on cue, heckles from some students not participating in the peaceful demonstration emerged through a classroom window.

“It’s people like them we can get away from,” Akeesha Campbell said.

While the students were disappointed with the school board’s decision, they passed the blame back to the provincial government for introducing the $6.5 million shortfall in the CCRSB’s budget.

“I’m upset the budget cuts brought it down to this,” Rayliene Thompson said. “If they keep cutting there will be nothing left.”

 

cgooding@citizenrecord.ca

Organizations: Chignecto Central Regional School Board

Geographic location: Amherst

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  • Brian Seaman
    April 12, 2012 - 01:14

    My family on my father's side has deep roots in Cumberland County, as we are descendants of United Empire Loyalists who were forced to flee the new American republic following Britain's defeat in the U.S. Revolutionary War. I went to high school in Pugwash, but I have been living and working in Calgary for over 10 years now. To the 200 kids who walked out and quietly read books to protest the closing of your school library, I have such deep respect for you. You did the right thing and conducted a peaceful mass protest, which is a right in this country and guaranteed by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. To the kids who jeered at them from inside the building, you might think you "rule" now. But in 15 years, you will be working for people like those kids who sat outside in protest. Get used to it.

  • good call
    April 11, 2012 - 19:11

    Librarians! Really? I for one of many feel if there are to be layoffs this is a good choice. Of course this coincides with 41 new positions being created by the NDP Government in the finance department. Have you all learned your NDP gov lesson? As with every other prov this will be a 1 term NDP government.

  • good call
    April 11, 2012 - 19:09

    Librarians! Really? I for one of many feel if there are to be layoffs this is a good choice. Of course this coincides with 41 new positions being created by the NDP Government in the finance department. Have you all learned your NDP gov lesson? As with every other prov this will be a 1 term NDP government.

  • mike
    April 11, 2012 - 18:49

    I cannot believe that the comment by "MY OPINION" was written by a teacher. The spelling mistakes and gramatical errors in the comment are terrible.

  • Steve from Amherst
    April 11, 2012 - 17:00

    The Department of Education has parachuted in a budget specialist to the CCRSB offices to help them with the math, it's about time. The idots there have 0 credibility. There's at least one $100,000 plus per year position there, that should be eliminated. Or maybe you could put him back into the classroom,... no student deserves that. IMHO as always

  • My Opinion
    April 11, 2012 - 16:24

    I HATE to see anyone out of a job BUT do all schools really need them??? I agree High Schools and Jr Highs DEFINATELY need them BUT Elementery schools???? NOT so much......I read something about without libraries in elementary schools kids wouldn't know how to read.......THIS is not true........It's the teachers that teach the students how to read......and how much HELP the librarians are??? I can't even leave my class with them during library time.....It doesn't HELP me by giving me an off class to do corrections, contact parents, or do notes up for parents......I have to stay their to supervise while she reads a story to them.......I can do that in my classroom. They have more off classes then a teacher does??? Why?? When I have a special needs child in my class who NEEDS one on one support BUT can't get it because there isn't enough money BUT there is a librarian in my school......and only speaking for my school.......Does nothing in an 8 hour day I think to myself......that librarians in elementary schools are a luxury NOT a necessity

    • Mom Jeans
      April 11, 2012 - 17:20

      Teachers may teach students how to read but I certainly hope you're not teaching your students how to spell or use punctuation correctly "my opinion".

    • Suq Madik
      April 11, 2012 - 18:12

      Librarians can help with all kinds of things. Prepositions, verb placement, punctuation, rewriting sentence fragments and the difference between there and their, just to name a few.

    • mike
      April 11, 2012 - 18:46

      I cannot believe that the comment by "MY OPINION" was written by a teacher. The spelling mistakes and gramatical errors in the comment are terrible.

    • mike
      April 11, 2012 - 18:48

      I cannot believe that the comment by "MY OPINION" was written by a teacher. The spelling mistakes and gramatical errors in the comment are terrible.

  • colton mannette
    April 11, 2012 - 15:09

    good i agree with these students why cut library staff whats next cut the teachers instead of cutting librarians cut something else instead