As the lead organizer of the Dec. 10 student protest against Bill 115, I feel that it is necessary to set the record straight.

There is a common misconception that students aren’t aware of Bill 115. In fact, most students are aware of the bill’s contents and its implications for students, teachers and Ontarians in general.

Students' demand for the bill’s repeal is not the result of our anger towards our teachers.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, teachers are reluctant to discuss the specifics of the bill because they do not want to put us in the middle of a conflict the government clearly started when they took away the most basic right of Canadian unionized workers, and the bedrock of a democratic society: the right to free and collective bargaining.

'What students have learned as a result of the government’s bullying is how important it is to stand up for what is right and for what we believe.'—Daniel Panciuc, Grade 12 student
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Students at Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School in Hamilton stage a protest against the provincial Bill 115 on Dec. 10. (Cory Ruf/CBC)

What students have learned as a result of the government’s bullying is how important it is to stand up for what is right and for what we believe.

Although the short-term loss of extracurricular activities is felt by many of us, what we will learn in the long term is that we have to stand up to bullies like Premier McGuinty and Education Minister Laurel Broten, or they will attack again, like all bullies do. If they are able to put down an easy target such as the education sector, how do we know that they will not move on to other victims?

The Ontario government claims to "put students first." If they spent a day in a school like Sir John A. Macdonald, they would understand that our teachers give 110 per cent of themselves every day to make school a place where we want to be – a place where bullying is not tolerated and everyone’s voice is heard.

Daniel Panciuc, a Grade 12 student at Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School in Hamilton, organized a recent protest against the provincial Bill 115, which gives the government the ability to impose contracts on teachers and clamp down on teachers' strikes.