Hamilton sixth grader speaks out on education labour dispute

Amelia Arlen, 11, says students don't have a voice in the labour dispute between teachers and the government.
Amelia Arlen feels like nobody cares what students have to say when it comes to teacher negotiations. (Supplied)

Kids are feeling forgotten in Hamilton schools as the labour dispute between teachers and the province soldiers on, says one Hamilton student.

Amelia Arlen, 11, is a sixth-grader at W.H. Ballard Elementary School. She's a senior member of her guide unit, a junior member at the DIY crafting and hacking collective think|haus, as well as a singer and a runner.

Earlier this week, she texted her dad to tell him she feels like she doesn't have a voice in the labour dispute between teachers and the government.

Her dad snapped a photo of the conversation and it quickly went viral.

Amelia Arlen's phone conversation with her Dad went viral in Hamilton earlier this week.

CBC Hamilton tracked her down to let her know she does have a voice and to see what she has to say:

Amelia, what has changed at school during the labour dispute?

"I have noticed that at the start of the school year I joined the cross-country team [and] two practices in the teachers said that it was over for the year.

"At first I was confused. Now I am mad because my extra things have been taken away from me and my friends. That is just not right.

"I love to run and sing and the only way I am going to get better is practice."

Amelia's choir practices for the year have also been cancelled, as well as the school's annual holiday concert.

How are students feeling about teachers?

"Everyone is talking about it. They are asking questions that are being answered with, 'can't tell you anything.'

I would like to know why they don't just sign [a contract] and if we are going to stay on school the rest of the year."

How are students feeling about the government?

"I don't think the government cares what [kind of people] we turn into and that just is not right."

What she's worried could happen:

"I think that maybe they are never going to end this and if that happens we will be taking days off for the whole year.

"I wish they would sign the old or new contract but they have not and instead gone bananas. I also wish that this never started in the first place."

What she wants you to know about students:

"I wish they knew that we are interested about this and that [even though] we are young we want to know what is happening."