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Students stage their own walkout

Making their own statement: Grade 12 students Leif Saba, centre, Dylan Taylor, right, and their classmates walked out of classes May 29 to protest the ongoing teachers dispute. - Chelsea Grainger/Observer
Making their own statement: Grade 12 students Leif Saba, centre, Dylan Taylor, right, and their classmates walked out of classes May 29 to protest the ongoing teachers dispute.
— image credit: Chelsea Grainger/Observer

Armed with colourful signs and honks of support from passersby, Salmon Arm Secondary students staged their own walkout on May 28.

Half an hour before classes ended for the day, a group of students decided it was time to let the public know how they feel about the ongoing dispute between the B.C. Teachers Federation and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association.

Grade 12 student and organizer of the walkout, Madeleine Genn, said the students aren’t on anybody’s side.

“We’re on our own side,” said Genn.

Genn said that students are tired of the teachers and the government saying that they are negotiating to better the education system, when in actuality, the dispute is having a negative impact on students.

Jamie Oosterhuis, a Grade 12 student, said the major trouble is the fact teachers aren’t allowed to help students on their lunch hours or before classes begin.

“They close their doors at lunch, which means that if we miss a day, we can’t make up things that we miss,” said Oosterhuis.

Oosterhuis says she wishes that both sides would just reach a solution.

“We just want our teachers to be happy,” said Oosterhuis.

For one student, Annick Smith, one of the major annoyances of the dispute is the disruption of the school’s production of Peter Pan.

Smith says that because teachers aren’t able to be at school any earlier than 45 minutes before classes start, and any later than 45 minutes after they end, they’ve had to start rehearsing during class times.

“We’ve been forced to rearrange our show,” said Smith. “Which means we’ve been missing a lot of classes.”

 

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