Hamilton high school students walk out to protest changes to education system

Hundreds of students at Hamilton’s Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School walked out of school Wednesday to protest the Ontario government’s planned changes to the education system.

Starting at noon, a few hundred students stood outside the school on Rymal Road East, carrying signs and yelling chants that took aim at the Doug Ford government’s reforms.

“This is our education,” said Cierrah Warnick, a Grade 11 student. “This is our future.”

Students from Cathedral also protested. They marched to city hall at the noon hour.

In particular, students voiced concerns about the Progressive Conservative government’s planned cuts to OSAP, which would see the elimination of free tuition for low-income students to trim the multibillion-dollar deficit.

But those who gathered outside Bishop Ryan also spoke about the government’s overhaul of the autism program, their planned boost to class sizes, as well as their planned increase in e-learning, which would see every high school student earn one online credit a year.

“Even though some of us are graduating within a couple years, there’s still those kids that are coming up that are going to have to deal with Ford’s changes,” added Warnick.

The 17-year-old said word of the walkout spread through social media.

The students plan to hold subsequent actions to further their cause, Warnick said.

The local walkout mirrored provincewide action organized by the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario in response to government changes to OSAP and university and college student fees.

Students across Ontario walked out of class and called on the government to provide more grants, eliminate tuition fees and increase public funding for education, according to a Facebook event for the demonstration.

“You can’t affect our education without us fighting back a little,” said Devin Trotter, a Grade 11 student at Bishop Ryan.

School board chair Pat Daly said the board did not condone the students walking out of class. “If they want to participate in peaceful protest outside of the school day, that’s obviously their business and their right,” he said.


905-526-2420 | @NatatTheSpec


905-526-2420 | @NatatTheSpec

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