B.C. Teachers’ Federation documents that advise teachers to watch for and report military recruiters in schools made the rounds of social media after Remembrance Day, and raised the hackles of veterans who shared it on email.
A poster produced by the BCTF’s “social justice committee” is apparently designed for high school students, urging them to consider alternatives and ask their families questions such as “Are you going to be worried if I go away?”
A second page advises teachers to “let students know to inform teachers when they are approached by recruiters” and report any recruitment activity to “the union and/or your social justice committee.”
Teachers are advised to “help inform other teachers, parents, your communities and your labour council about this issue,” and ask local school boards to pass motions opposing recruiting.
The official @BCTF Twitter account joined the discussion on Sunday, describing the poster as “years old” and “an archived document on our website, not a current campaign.”
The poster’s second page shows it was last edited in December 2015. It is also included in a longer newsletter called “Seeds of Social Justice” produced for this November.
That document recommends a Remembrance Day focus on Canadian arms sales and threats and attacks on people protesting Canadian mining projects abroad.
Parksville veteran Douglas Moore wrote to BCTF president Glen Hansman, suggesting that “one of the many professional development days teachers use … be dedicated to discussing the difference between teaching and preaching, and in particular, to remind them that personal bias has no place in the classroom.”
A Royal Canadian Legion representative was asked about the poster by CKNW radio in Vancouver, replying “there is nothing wrong with wanting to serve your country.”
An Abbotsford father, who asked not to be named, said his son is considering joining the Royal Canadian Air Force, which sponsors an aircraft maintenance engineering program at BCIT.
“The school provided no career information at all about the military, and just this morning, my son was telling me that the counsellor was trying to talk him out of it,” he said Monday.
Teachers responded on Twitter with pictures and descriptions of their own in-school Remembrance Day ceremonies, honouring veterans. BCTF headquarters posted its print ad for this year, which states: “On Remembrance Day, teachers and students will be honouring sacrifices of the past and working for peace in the future.”
— BCTF (@bctf) November 11, 2016