A student at a Halifax high school claims the ongoing work-to-rule job action in Nova Scotia schools has resulted in more bullying because teachers simply aren’t around as much.

“Ollie” Oldfield is the vice-president of Halifax West High School’s Gender Sexuality Alliance – a group he says hasn’t met much since teachers began their job action.

“Around lunch times, there are no teachers around to monitor anymore,” Oliver says. “I feel like students are able to get away with, or have more courage to bully other students without the teachers around."

Ollie says he will continue to support the teachers throughout the dispute. He was front and centre at a rally in downtown Halifax Sunday afternoon that brought out hundreds of supporters.

Though it’s unclear whether work-to-rule has directly impacted bullying in schools, the chair of the Nova Scotia Bullying and Cyberbullying Task Force says it shouldn’t.

"One of the priority jobs of teachers is maintaining the safety of their students, and I would say that's an Education Act mandated duty,” said Wayne MacKay, chair of the task force. “It's not an optional duty or one that's secondary to their main task."

However, it’s difficult to verify whether the number of bullying incidents has increased.

Schools are required to report incidents of unacceptable behavior by students, and the results are inputted into a provincial database.

Work-to-rule means the incidents are not being inputted, although schools are recording them manually.

The president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union was unavailable to comment on the matter Mondayafternoon.

In an email to CTV News, Heather Fairbairn, a spokesperson for the Education Department wrote, ”In Nova Scotia, all members of the school community have a role to play in the awareness and prevention of unacceptable behavior. All students and school staff ‎in Nova Scotia are required to follow the provincial school code of conduct. Schools are responsible for student safety and ensuring that the provincial school code of conduct policy is being implemented.”

Ollie says he plans to try and get through this period of uncertainty the best he can, one that's fundamentally changed his school routine and left him dealing with issues he shouldn't have to think about.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.