Loading articles...

Letter to Abbotsford teachers compares picketing to sex

ABBOTSFORD (NEWS1130) – Comparing the teachers’ strike to sex: A letter from the head of the Abbotsford Teachers’ Association is being called inappropriate by members.

After thanking teachers for their dedication during this time, it goes on to quote historian Eric Hobsbawm.

“Next to sex, the activity combining bodily experience and intense emotion to the highest degree is the participation in a mass demonstration at a time of great public exaltation. Unlike sex, which is essentially individual, it is by its nature collective…and it can be prolonged for hours…It implies some physical action — marching, chanting slogans, singing — through which the merger of the individual in the mass, which is the essence of the collective experience, finds expression.”

(See the full letter below)

Some teachers in Abbotsford have told News1130 they feel it is strange and other comparisons could have been used instead.

Psychologist Dr. Alyson Jones calls it misguided. “I understand the intent was probably to rally the troops, so to say, and get people energized. But I think in doing it in this manner, it very well could do the opposite.”

She says this is an incredibly difficult time for teachers.

“There is nothing exalted about it; this is not a time of great joy and excitement. This is actually a very painful and challenging time for the teachers… Having this equated to this rather lengthy quotation that references this sort of mass demonstration and equating it with sex, it’s something that isn’t appropriate in any professional letter.”

Jones thinks parents would be disappointed and distressed because of the nature of it. She says the letter isn’t acknowledging how difficult this is for anyone, instead simply charging up the teachers to get them out picketing.

President of the Abbotsford District Teachers’ Association Doug Smuland wrote the letter and is now apologizing if he offended anyone.

“I suppose one could have used anything or nothing. It was in my mind a tongue and cheek, humorous stab at trying to encourage members to come out. It wasn’t intended to go anywhere beyond the members in my local. I had no intention of it being sent to offend anyone in any way and if it did, I would apologize.”