Students Planning Walkouts to Protest Provincial Government Education Changes in Halton
The sweeping changes the Doug Ford government has proposed for the province's education system have generated a great deal of pushback from teachers and students alike.
And now, some local students are organizing a walkout to protest the changes that some say could lead to job losses in the education sector and potentially prompt a labour disruption (or strike or work to rule initiative) in the future.
On Thursday, April 4, high school students in over 700 school across Ontario are planning to walk out of class at 1:15 p.m. to protest the changes that have been proposed by the province.
Those changes include changes to class sizes (the Ford government has proposed increasing them), e-learning (students will be required to complete several online classes), the new sexual education curriculum and funding cuts.
Students say the walkout is part of the student-led #StudentsSayNo campaign (@studentssayno).
Students involved in the protest say they're also protesting Ontario Autism Program funding cuts, OSAP changes and the cell phone ban.
According to a news release, the number of students walking out in Ontario is estimated to surpass 100,000.
Zara Ali, a Grade 11 student at St. Marcellinus Secondary School in Mississauga, said that she and another Grade 11 friend and a Grade 12 student organized their school's walkout for a 25-minute protest that will run from 1:15 to 1:45 p.m.
"Over 100 concerned students have pledged to walkout at our high school in support of our arts program, our music students, and our teachers," Ali said in an email to insauga.com.
"As we have a SHSM (Specialist High School Major) program in hospitality and tourism, as well as one in the arts, these funding cuts hurt the many creative minds at our school."
inBrampton.com was told that a walkout will also be held at 1:15 p.m. at Heart Lake Secondary School.
The amount of schools registered on the official website's walkout list is extensive and can be found here.
Local Halton and Peel schools registered to participate include Bramalea Secondary School, Brampton Centennial Secondary School, Cardinal Leger Secondary School, Central Peel Secondary School, Ascension of our Lord Secondary School, Cawthra Park Secondary School, Clarkson Secondary School, Father Michael Goetz Separate School, Lorne Park Secondary School, Loyola Catholic Secondary School, Abbey Park High School, Heritage Glen Public School, Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School, Bishop P.F. Reding Catholic Secondary School, Craig Kielburger Secondary School, Burlington Central High School, Corpus Christi Secondary School and more.
"On April 4th, 2019 at 1:15 pm, we walk out and come together as students of this province to make it known that we oppose the changes Doug Ford's Ontario government is making to our education," organizers said in a letter intended for other student organizers.
"The announced policy changes and financial cuts will be extremely detrimental to students on both a long-term and widespread scale. In addition to its financial impact, the changes will hurt students in a non-monetary and social capacity. It is clear that they do not have the best interests of we the students at heart."
"The time to speak up is now. It is crucial that we take back our education and show that we have a loud and powerful voice. We must not let our opinions be brushed aside just because of our age. These education cuts are directly affecting all of us students, so our point of view matters. We need to hold the government accountable and ensure that we are being heard."
To learn more about the protests, click here.
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