Brockville Students Protest Ed Cuts With Walkout

Students in Brockville want to send a message to the Progressive Conservatives: Cuts Hurt Kids.

On Thursday, students at Brockville Collegiate Institute were just some of those across the province walking out of class to protest the provinces proposed changes in classrooms.

Co-coordinator Emma Lindsay, a grade 12 student at the school, said she feels strongly because of the proposed changes to the sex education curriculum. She grew up learning under the Liberal's previous guidelines.

"I struggled with my own sexuality for my entire life, I came out as bi this year and I feel like I just don't want anyone else to have to feel confused about who they are," said Lindsay. "I feel like the changes they made this year are just preventing people from feeling comfortable and understanding about who they are."

Under the provinces possible new sex education plan, gender identity discussions will be now introduced in grade 8, and parents can opt-out of having their kids exposed to certain topics.

Standing outside the front of the building on Pearl St., cars honked in support, and a handful of adults addressed the crowd of teenagers. City Councillors Cameron Wales and Leigh Bursey were two of those invited to speak.

Wales emphasized he was not there on an official capacity but praised the students exercising their right to protest, and encouraged students who were 16 years old to register to vote. Bursey encouraged the students to get involved at a civic level.

Fellow coordinator Dallas Harvey, another grade 12 student at BCI, said they reached out to the #StudentsSayNoMovement and have been in communication with kids from Toronto to Cornwall.



Harvey said the protest was important to him for a number of reasons, including family members who are teachers that could be affected by classroom size cuts. He also cites concerns about changes to OSAP, as he looks to go to post-secondary school in the fall.

Students who participated were asked to sign three separate petitions to local MPP Steve Clark, Premiere Doug Ford and Education Minister Lisa Thompson.

"Basically they say that we the students of Brockville Collegiate Institute, as well as residents of Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, do not support the changes that have been proposed," explained Harvey.

Harvey and Lindsay said they were proud of the turnout, especially since all students received a letter from school officials on Wednesday pushing back on the plan. 

Tens of thousands of students from 47 schools across the province walked out of class at 1:15pm on Thursday until 2:15pm to protest the changes. There is also a protest planned for Saturday outside Queen's Park.