Social Issues April 12, 2012
High School Students Raise A Little Hell To Keep Their School Open

The oldest high school in Peterborough, Ontario (Lester B. Pearson was a student there), is set to close in September. But the students at Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School (PCVS) aren't taking the decision lying down. In fact, as of today a committee of students called 'Peterborough Needs PCVS' says they have raised almost $250,000 for a fund to wage a legal battle against the school's closure. The group will release a statement later today revealing whether or not they reached their goal.

But for now, it looks like the closure will go ahead as planned, despite the media attention that the situation has received. The decision to close PCVS was made last September, when the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board voted 7-4 in favour of the move, citing the need to save money and improve programming at Peterborough's three remaining schools. The decision is based on a general decline in enrolment at Peterborough high schools. The Board says that by consolidating its operations and selling some property, it will be able to deliver better educational services at the schools that are left.

In the months since, students at the school have demonstrated both their dedication to keeping the school open - through rallies, marches, protests, public speeches - and their exceptional ability to care about others. They took part in the 'Spread the Net Challenge', raising over $50,000 to pay for malaria-preventing bed nets to be distributed to children and families in Africa.

Last night the program review committee met to discuss the planned September closure, and revealed some possible uses the PCVS building might be put to once it is no longer a high school. Among the options: it may house The Peterborough Centre for Individual Studies, The School for Young Moms, or a relocated Peterborough Community Education Centre. The options will be sent to the school trustees for discussion at a board meeting later this month.

On the final episode of this season of the Rick Mercer Report, PCVS students were celebrated for winning the Spread the Net Challenge, and Rick also dedicated his rant to them. Check that out below:

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