N.S. students stage classroom walkout in support of teachers

Click to play video: 'Thousands of students back up teachers in rally'
Thousands of students back up teachers in rally
WATCH ABOVE: Students for Teachers saw over 100 High School flood their communities in support of teachers battling the provincial government for a new contract. Global’s Alexa MacLean reports – Dec 2, 2016

Students from more than 100 schools across Nova Scotia walked out of class on Friday, three days before teachers start their work-to-rule job action.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia teachers to start work-to-rule next Monday

Organized by the Facebook group Students for Teachers, students were asked to leave their schools at 12:45 p.m. and host a sit-in or rally “in protest of Nova Scotia’s provincial government’s actions surrounding the ongoing teachers’ dispute.”

The walkouts were staggered throughout the morning and afternoon with J.L. Ilsley High School students in Spryfield leaving at 11:30 a.m.

READ MORE: Duties of ‘paid and employed’ teachers outlined in memo from Nova Scotia gov’t

Kiara Sexton, a J.L. Ilsley student, said she participated in the walkout during her lunchtime to respect the time teachers give up.

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“We’re doing this during our free time because they help and support us during theirs – by doing lunchtime activities, by doing math extra help, helping us do bio assignments and everything in between,” Sexton, a Grade 12 student, said. “They’ve just always been there for me, especially through hardships and stuff. When I didn’t think I had anyone to turn to, often times I turned to teachers because they were always really understanding, really compassionate and just always there.”

READ MORE: Nova Scotia teachers’ 16 contract demands and what the province says they cost

Kenzi Donnelly, who formed the Facebook group in October, said the support from students across the province is “amazing” and hopes that it sends a message.

“We hope this sends the government a strong message that students are taking their education seriously,” Donnelly, who is a Grade 12 student at Prince Andrew High School in Dartmouth, said. “We are fed up with what is happening in our classrooms and the disrespect being shown to our teachers … Students are not letting it slide.”

READ MORE: Halifax school board to change bus schedules while teachers work-to-rule

Donnelly said she helped organize the rally because of what teachers have done for her.

“To me personally, I have teachers who have done more for me than I can put into words,” she said. “If I could give them the world, I completely would.”

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— With files from Alexa MacLean, Global News

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