Students at SCVI walked out of class Thursday to protest the Putting Students First Act.
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Chris Pipher is worried about his education.
The Grade 12 Superior Collegiate and Vocational Institute student was one of a large group of students that walked out of class Thursday to protest the passing of the Putting Students First Act.
The Act, which was passed Tuesday, will freeze education wages, ban strikes and lockouts for two years, force three unpaid days off, stop unused sick days from being cashed out at retirement and cut the annual amount of sick days in half to 10.
Teachers across the province have been rallying against the legislation and said they will take the fight to court if necessary.
Students at SCVI were waving signs of support for teachers and asking passersby to honk in support of the rally outside of the school early Thursday afternoon.
Pipher said he’s concerned how this legislation is making his teachers feel.
“When they’re uncomfortable, our education starts to fall. Why would we want teachers to feel uncomfortable and watch our education fall not learning what we want to learn with our lives?” he said.
He’s also worried about the school’s extracurricular activities; teacher union leaders have issued a warning that they could walk away from those extracurricular sports in protest of the legislation.
If that happens, Pipher said it will affect everyone in a major way.
“Most of our teachers are taking time out of their lives to do this for us, so why would we as students let this fall through? It’s unfair,” he said.
Grade 10 student Paige Skeard said she’s concerned how the cut in sick days will affect teachers.
“We’ve got one teacher getting knee surgery who has to be off of it for four weeks and he’s only getting
10 of (those days) paid,” she said.
Skeard is also worried what will happen to the school’s spirit if sports and other activities aren’t offered this year.
Fellow student Lyndsay Willoughby is also concerned and says this bill will impact everyone in Ontario schools.
“People really like to be on sports teams and if they take that away that’s going to be a big gap in the lives of a lot of people because a lot of people are really dedicated to this,” she said, adding she was glad to come out and support her teachers.
“We think (the bill) is wrong and we want to show our teachers are worth it and we show that we care so that’s why we’re out here,” she said.
Lakehead Public School’s education officer Charlie Bishop said there were no reports of walkouts at any other Thunder Bay school Thursday.
While Bishop said they prefer students stay in class, it is a good thing that, if informed, they voice their opinions on matters like this.
All extracurricular activities are going forward as normal at this time, Bishop added.
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