A Parent-Teacher night at Laurelwood Public School in Waterloo that was billed to also feature an information picket, went picket-less. However, teachers continued sharing union literature.

Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) Spokesperson for the Waterloo Region local, Rick Moffitt told 570 News why there had been a change in direction, “There was some concern expressed by the school board that maybe the use of pickets might look confrontational, or might give the impression that our disagreement was with the school board.”

Moffitt stressed the teachers were there to meet the parents “first-and-foremost,” but saw an opportunity to share their point of view.

“We have the capacity to meet our parents and a capacity to raise the issue of what the government has done. Those of us who work in the education system call that a teachable moment,” Moffitt said.

Traditionally, Parent-Teacher night happens inside the school, in the classrooms. However, ETFO members have been advised not to volunteer their time outside of the regular school day.

“Most of our teachers are outside … because it’s a voluntary activity to be at school tonight. It’s a voluntary activity to take part in an information picket.” said Moffitt.

However, “Parent-Teacher night is a special night,” Moffitt said, “we see this as a professional obligation, but it’s not a contractual obligation.”

Had there been any backlash from parents directed at the teachers for using Parent-Teacher night to advance their side of a political agenda? “No, I haven’t heard anything from any of our parents. Not-a-one,” Moffitt said. “I think our parents understand what we’re doing.”

570′s Jeff Allan Show took a call from a number of concerned parents during the Hour of Rage, an open phone line segment set aside for listeners to vent their frustrations. One parent was less than pleased with the planned information picket, “My kids go to that school. So tonight, what I’m going to do, is I’m going to leave my kids at home, and I’m going to meet their teachers, and I’m going to give them a piece of my mind,” the caller said, “this should be about my kids, and not about them.”

Parent of two children attending Laurelwood, Ahmed Murtaza was glad the ETFO called off the picket, “I personally think that this wasn’t the right night for it.”

“This is Parent-Teacher day, and that’s what the teachers should be focusing on.”

Mike.McCulloch@rci.rogers.com