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British Columbia Teacher’s Federation controversial poster withdrawn after teacher, military spouse, creates petition

A controversial poster taking a stand against military recruitment methods was pulled from the B.C. Teacher’s Federation (BCTF) website after an online petition against the posters attracted hundreds of community members.

The posters, said to be created in 2010, went viral just before Remembrance Day this year.

The BCTF posters called military recruitment a social justice issue and asked, “As teachers, which actions could be an effective component of a counter-recruitment campaign in your school or community?”

The material goes on to list steps teachers can take including: “let teachers know to inform the union and/or your social justice committee when they see recruiters in the school.”

The controversial language and stance of the posters caught the attention of military spouse and teacher Zoe Baker who started an online petition calling for BCTF to retract the posters.

“I am a teacher and a military spouse. I found the language used to be extremely insulting to our armed forces and the intelligence of teachers in this province. Although the publication is directed at teachers and about the military, I hope that B.C. residents will sign it whether or not they belong to either of those groups. Let’s not have publications like these that pit two different contributions to our country against each other as we are working together to make the world a better place,” stated Baker on the petition homepage.

Baker notes that the posters imply that the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are waiting on school grounds “to collar unsuspecting students,” rather than follow the appropriate methods.

She also noted that eliminating the CAF will not automatically create peace in the world.

“We need people who want to change the world for the better to get into the places where they can do the most good. For some people that will be the military,” stated Baker.

In just a few short days the petition has been signed by more than 700 supporters.

The posters have since been taken down off the BCTF website. In a statement to CBC, the organization explained that B.C. teachers appreciated the CAF.

“The posters were created several years ago in response to teachers’ worries about recruitment strategies in schools as well as a nation-wide TV ad campaign from the former Harper government which seemed to glamourize combat and target youth,” reported the CBC.

However, the explanation and response have not been satisfactory to Baker and petition supporters.

“Apologies are made without excuse, and we are role models. The poster has been making the rounds, and many people will be looking for the BCTF to fully retract it,” stated the petition website.

Baker is still requesting Canadians to share and sign the petition. To view, the petition click here. 

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MIshall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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