On Thursday April 4th, some J. Clarke Richardson students staged a walkout to protest Premier Doug Ford’s new policies. This was not a school-sponsored event and students left school during lunch to participate. A second walkout occurred later but with less traction and attendance.
In our ongoing effort to represent the student voice, Eye on the Storm asked those who participated in the walkout to share some of their views. Here are their responses:
EYE ON THE STORM: Why are you here today?
-Because we don’t agree with Doug Ford taking away help from kids who need it, like autistic kids who really need more teachers to help them out. I have a kid in my class who has autism and he really needs [the extra resources]. So, I disagree with what he’s doing. Not to forget, he’s taking OSAP away, which is now a necessity for almost every person who wants to pursue further education.
-What Doug Ford is doing to post-secondary students will be directly affecting us too. Doug Ford in general is making cuts to our education system, such as cutting funds to special needs programs and OSAP especially. We are out here protesting for special needs students, mainstream students, and post-secondary students. We are in support of every single student in Canada, particularly Ontario.
-I am supporting the movement, y’know? I want to support the people who are taking a stand and making a statement. [Doug Ford] was voted in, I’m not sure why, I haven’t heard a lot good feedback about him. He’s making some serious changes to education, and they’re just not right. They just don’t make sense.
-Personally, [the OSAP funding cuts] will take a toll on me. I’m going to university, I need to pay for that on my own and I don’t have a lot of support coming my way. OSAP was looking to be a very credible opportunity for me to fund my education. All these cuts and the grace period they removed, it’s messing up my future.
EYE ON THE STORM: What do you think about the online courses that are going to be mandatory?
-The younger grades will be affected more because they’re adding mandatory courses that are to be done online. Difficult courses are difficult to do online, because if you don’t have someone physically there to help you out, a lot of people will fail. If I had to do Math online this year I would definitely have failed.
-I think the mandatory online courses are absurd. Online learning does not work for everyone. Who’s going to do well in online Science? Online English? Online Math? Many people won’t do well, and while some might, most people need face to face learning.
-The online courses are a weird one. I feel like it was inevitable because of the way that Chromebooks and such are moving in, but making them mandatory trips me out a little bit, because it’s not catered to everybody. I feel like it was a change that was going to be made at some point.
EYE ON THE STORM: After the funding cut directed at the Arts, what do you think will happen to our school?
-I’m very supportive of the Arts department, I’ve been in band and taken a lot of arts classes, and so it sucks because that’s a really good platform for a lot of people who may not be the smartest in Math or Science, but still want to express themselves through Art. So the Arts budget cuts, I really don’t like those.
Students who attended the protest were taking a stand for a movement they believe in and expressing their opinions. How would you go about making a change?