By ALAN SHACKLETON
Students from a number of local schools joined in a province-wide Students Say No walkout from class on Thursday, April 4, to protest proposed changes to the education system by the provincial government.
At Malvern Collegiate Institute and nearby Notre Dame High School, students gathered on their school properties shortly after 1 p.m. for the protest.
“We’re here to protest the changes that (Premier) Doug Ford will be making to the education system,” said Malvern student Daisey Matheson-Schweitzer.
She said the cuts will lead to less teachers, larger classes and the diminishment of special programs such as the arts, and this will take a toll on a lot of students.
“Arts programs are really important to us and we’ll lose those,” said the Grade 11 student.
Matheson-Schweitzer said the cuts will lead to less teachers and impact the sense of community that Malvern students feel.
“We really love our teachers here at Malvern and we don’t want to lose them,” she said.
Her message to Premier Ford was to leave education alone.
“We are the future of Ontario. Education is power and I feel he is trying to take that away from us and it is frustrating,” said Matheson-Schweitzer, who was also concerned that changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) will make it much harder for many students to pursue a post-secondary education.
Malvern’s Student Council President Lily McDonald, in Grade 12, said the protest was a chance for students to air their concerns about the changes.
“It would not be fair for students to have class sizes that are too big and not get the attention they need,” she said.
McDonald added that the plan to have students take one course a year online was especially concerning.
“I don’t know how some kids will be able to do it without support from teachers in the class,” she said
A number of messages were written in chalk on the sidewalk in front of Malvern. Some of them read: How About Buck-a-Degree; Our Education is not The Place To Cut; and Just Wait ’till we all Fail That EQAO You Love to Fund So Much.