High School Students walk out of Ottawa schools

High school students in Ottawa and across Ontario walked out of class today to protest changes to Ontario’s education system.

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.

The walkouts slated to begin at 1:15 p.m. Thursday; started earlier in the day at All Saints Catholic School in Kanata.

"I rely a lot on hands-on learning from the teachers and one-on-one education because I find it harder to learn in a fast-pace environment rather than taking time to understand the concepts." said Ollie Fodell from All Saints.

"We're going to be seeing 20 percent cuts to our funding; we're also not going to have as many teachers. We'll also have bigger class sizes which isn’t fair to the teachers or the students." said Lily Graven of A.Y. Jackson in Kanata.

Hundreds of students walk out of A.Y. Jackson SS in Kanata protesting changes to education system affecting class sizes, e-learning and the arts ⁦@ctvottawapic.twitter.com/YePYZoJ5Pr

— Mike Arsalides (@MArsalidesCTV) April 4, 2019

Students at 47 schools in Ottawa have signed up on the #StudentsSayNo website to take part in the protest. Students at schools in the Upper Canada District School Board, Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario and Renfrew school boards have also signed up to take part in the walkout.

In a letter to parents, principals with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board say “We do not know what participation will occur at our school, but we wanted to ensure that you were aware, particularly as the timing is planned during the instructional day when students are expected to be in school.”

The letters say “Students are expected to be in class and regular instruction is planned”, adding “any student not in class or leaving class in order to participate in the walkout will be considered on an unexcused absence.”