High School Students Plan Walkout

High school students in Brockville and Athens are planning to walk out of class Thursday, to protest changes to Ontario’s education system.

It's part of a wider province-wide protest, with 47 schools participating over three days.

In a statement on its website, the #StudentsSayNo movement says “the announced policy changes and financial cuts will be extremely detrimental to students on both a long-term and widespread scale.”

In March, Ontario announced plans to increase class sizes for Grades 4 through 12, and a requirement for high school students to take online courses.

Students at seven Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) schools have indicated they will participate, including Brockville Collegite Institute, Thousand Islands Secondary School, as well as Athens District High School.

On Wednesday, the UCDSB posted a statement to parents saying they are aware of the protest.

"It is important for parents and guardians to be aware that this is not an event sanctioned by the Upper Canada District School Board. Regularly scheduled classes will be conducted on that day and it is our expectation that students will attend classes.

It is our very important task to maintain student safety at all times. This is made more difficult if students choose to leave their classrooms and/or school property for the purposes of a walkout."

Officials say individual school principles have alerted local police that students at their school to participate, over safety concerns.

The walkouts are slated to begin at 1:15 Thursday. Others will walk out Friday, and a demonstration is set for Queen's Park in Toronto on Saturday.