Graduating Quebec students call on government to give them one last day of high school

Quebec students from a school in the province's Mauricie region have started a change.org petition online asking the Quebec government to give them one last day of high school before they head off to CEGEP in the fall.

On Monday, Premier François Legault announced that as of May 11, elementary students in Quebec will be heading back to school to finish off the year with their teachers and peers – but high school students will stay at home until September. 

For secondary five (Grade 11) students in Quebec, Legault’s decision means their high school careers abruptly ended without them knowing it back in mid-March. 

The students behind the petition say they understand the severity of the pandemic; four of them work essential service jobs. 

“That said, we have a request, and we would like for it to be taken seriously,” the petition reads, specifying that this demand applies to secondary five students only. “We are not asking for month or a week. We just want a day – one simple day granted so that we can have the opportunity to see our friends and teachers for the last time.” 

School staff could monitor the students to make sure physical distancing guidelines are met, and gloves and masks can be worn if need be, the petition suggests. 

“If it’s possible to open elementary schools and daycare centres until the end of the year, it’s certainly possible to grant a single day to a handful of secondary five students who are well aware of the current situation,” it says. “We high school graduates will soon begin another major stage of our lives – CEGEP. We want to finish the one we’re in before we start the next.” 

The petition was started by Jonathan Boivin, Florence Farrier, Malory Lacroix et Benjamin Allard and as of Thursday morning, received nearly 6,000 of its desired 7,500 signatures. 

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