VIDEO: Student Walkout To Protest Education Changes
High school students will put down their pencils and books Thursday to take part in a walkout to protest planned changes to Ontario's education system.
Students across the province, including those in Windsor-Essex, are upset over the impact of larger class sizes and forced e-learning courses announced by Education Minister Lisa Thompson.
St. Anne High School student Noah Gascon says comments from the government are concerning.
"Education Minister Lisa Thompson said that larger class sizes would help students with their coping skills, that is not true at all. It's quite sad she would say something like that," says Gascon.
The government is moving to increase average high school class sizes from 22 to 28, which some say will affect student learning and lead to the loss of thousands of teaching positions.
Gascon says making a statement is important.
"We're on the right side of history here and, quite frankly, I don't care if I get detention. I don't care if I get suspended and I don't care if I get expelled, as long as I know that I'm doing the right thing at the end of the day, that's all that really matters," he says.
When asked Thursday morning about the student walkouts later in the day, Education Minister Lisa Thompson said "I feel when children are at school, when students are at school, school should be a place for learning and not for pushing ideologies."
Speaking to Moore in the Morning on NewsTalk 1010, AM800's sister station in Toronto, Thompson also said "we'll be taking note, no two ways about this. But I can't stress enough, classrooms are for learning, they should not be used as a soapbox. I feel very strongly that classrooms should be a place for learning."
Lauren Carlini is at Villanova High School and says Premier Doug Ford's government will make learning more of a challenge.
"He's increasing the class sizes which will really defeat the purpose the one-on-one participation with our teachers, as well as promoting the e-learning classes. It will not allow us to have classroom discussion, which I think is very important," says Carlini.
Students also want to bring attention to the funding model for autism, which they don't support.
The walkout is planned for 1:15 p.m. Thursday.