Teacher will give up volunteering time for students

Open letter to Ben Stewart, MLA Westside- Kelowna: It has been five weeks now since I put aside some precious time to write you a letter

Open letter to Ben Stewart, MLA Westside- Kelowna:

It has been five weeks now since I put aside some precious time to write you a letter expressing my concerns regarding your and the BC Liberals’ position on Bill 22 (Education Improvement Act).

Since that time, one thing that has happened is that George Abbott appointed a hopelessly biased, unqualified patsy in the lame-duck role of a mediator who does not have the power to offer anything in the mediation.

One thing that has not happened, however, was my receipt of any kind of response to my letter.

I would have thought that the thoughts and opinions of your constituents would matter enough to you to warrant a response, even if it were only a form-letter type of “Thank-you for taking the time to write…  Your opinion matters to me…” sort of thing, but I guess not.

Perhaps it’s your evident disdain or complete lack of respect for public school educators that compelled you not to respond to my letter.

Or perhaps, due to the presence of my old coaching whistle in the envelope it was deemed “suspicious,” and had to be destroyed (though I think I may have heard mention of that in the news).

If the reason is indeed the latter, I thought I would take advantage of your penchant for writing in newspapers, and post my original letter in this one, hoping you may see it. If so, I look forward finally receiving your response.


March 26, 2012

Dear Mr. Stewart:

Please find enclosed my whistle. Take it as a token of my crushed spirit.

I will no longer be needing it, as I have decided to no longer coach for the school at which I work. Despite having coached for 13 of the 15 years I’ve enjoyed this career, your government has driven me to this desperate measure.

Clearly you have no idea of the amount you rely on teacher “good will” to make the education system in this province work. From coaching to academic support, to outdoor excursions, to celebrations, countless hours are freely donated by teachers to provide students with a full, rich, educational experience.

Through the recent (and not-so-recent, come to think of it) actions of your government, you have exhausted my good will. It is gone.

I feel absolutely attacked and violated by my employer, and as such, I will limit my school involvement to that which is absolutely necessary and nothing more.

I will continue to do my contractually obligated duties, and do them well of course, but my days of voluntarily coaching rugby, volunteering to be the first aid attendant on five-day Outdoor Education excursions, and voluntarily running a Homework Club at 7:30 a.m. twice a week all year are over.

I had the misfortune of reading your recent submission to a local paper, defending Bill 22.

I suppose, with no children in the public education system, it’s easy for you to support such a destructive piece of legislation. More than I worry about its impact on my career, I worry about its impact on my young children currently in elementary school.

Shame on you and your party for your continued attack on public education, and those who deliver it.

James Pengilly,


Just Posted

Rockslide closes Coquihalla northbound

Highway 5 is closed in both directions according to DriveBC

Community Leader Awards: Sheila Gardiner-Watt

The Kelowna Capital News celebrates those in the community who go above and beyond

Mamas for Mamas founder survives with new lease on life

Kelowna’s Shannon Christensen escaped a dangerous situation and lived to tell about it

Announced this week in Kelowna

A listing of some of the events that were announced in the Kelowna area this week

Big White ski instructor named Top 10 in Canada

Big White’s Josh Foster has been selected for the Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance (CSIA) Interski team

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington on Vancouver Island

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, vehicles buried under more than three feet of snow

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Letter: Site C figures not correct

Kelowna letter-writer raises questions about the Site C dam project

Letter: Site C opponents are whining

If native treaty rights are being disrespected, just who is disrespecting them?

Albas: Canada Jobs program being politicized

Conservative MP Dan Albas’ weekly column takes on the student summer job plan

Fuhr: Pension for Life is a commitment to veterans

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr talks about his government’s commitment to veterans

Most Read