Hundreds of students protest Ford Government education cuts at Kitchener City Hall
About 200 students from various high school descended on Kitchener City Hall on Thursday as part of a province-wide protest against changes to education made by the Ford Government.
The students, mainly from Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate & Vocational School, Cameron Heights Collegiate and Eastwood Collegiate, were led in various chants by leaders who directed them from atop a stage.
In unison, they were directed in shouting phrases such as “Education is our right… that is why we have to fight” and “screw Ford, help the board.”
Anna Winge-Breen, a student at Cameron Heights, helped to organize the event at her school.
She believes that this was a way for students who are primarily under the voting age to get their message across.
“The goal is to let Doug Ford know that even though the majority of us are not of voting age, and we really have no say in this politically because we couldn’t elect him, that doesn’t mean we don’t have a voice,” she explained.
Winge-Breen says the students were protesting against the recently announced changes in class sizes as well as previous decisions by the government to make changes to the curriculum.
“That’s really difficult for students who need one-on-one time with their teachers,” she explained.
She says it is estimated that the changes to class sizes could see as many as 18,000 teachers lose their jobs.
“It’s ironic because he proposes he’s standing for the economy but all of these jobs are being lost,” Winge-Breen said.
Waterloo Region District School Board released a statement ahead of the protest, saying that it respects the students right to protest but hopes they will show some respectful behaviour.
“Student leadership and positive citizenship are a central part of our daily classroom discussions,” the statement signed by board chair Jayne Herring and director of education John Bryant read in part.
“We are confident our students will exercise the same good judgement and critical thought that they demonstrate in their classrooms every day.”
Students at hundreds of schools from across the province were expected to walk out on Thursday to to protest cuts to education enacted by the Ford government.
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