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'Help them agree': Girl asks Santa to end teachers' dispute, save Christmas concert
A Nova Scotia student has penned a letter to Santa, but she’s not asking for a puppy, a new bike, or even a Hatchimal.
Instead, nine-year-old Layla El-Azzi is asking him to settle the teachers’ dispute and save her Christmas concert.
“There has been a fight between the government and the teachers and if they don't agree on something by this weekend, our Christmas concert could be ruined,” wrote the Hammonds Plains, N.S. student.
“All our hard work gone. I was wondering you would help them agree on something.”
The Nova Scotia government announced last Saturday that public schools would be closed to students on Monday, after contract negotiations with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, which represents 9,300 educators, collapsed on Nov. 25.
The government shuttered the schools to avoid union job action, which the government deemed unsafe. Teachers returned to class on Tuesday, but they have enacted work-to-rule action, which means all extracurricular activities – including Christmas concerts – have been cancelled.
Jenelle Crocker was touched by her daughter’s letter, which she said she wrote all on her own.
“I could almost cry right now. She’s a beautiful little girl with a beautiful soul and kind heart, and she thinks about others and puts others before herself,” said Crocker. “I know she doesn’t like to see people fighting, and I know she wants a resolution as quickly as possible.”
While Santa has yet to respond to El-Azzi’s letter, Crocker has been working with his elves to ensure one of her daughter’s Christmas wishes comes true.
The Christmas concert has been moved from El-Azzi’s school to the Hammonds Plains Community Centre, and any student or family in the community can sign up to perform. The show is set for Monday.
“I thought, what better way to kind of help her through this difficult time than to kind of create a Christmas concert for all kids within Hammonds Plains,” said Crocker.
El-Azzi said she’s happy the show will go on. As for the teachers’ dispute with the province, she might just have to wait for some holiday handiwork from jolly ol’ Saint Nick.
“Santa, he's magical, so I was thinking maybe some Christmas spirit or some Christmas magic could come in and help.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Marie Adsett