Montreal

Families rally outside EMSB schools threatened with closure

Three schools operated by the English Montreal School Board may be forcibly handed over to the French-language system. The possibility has some families fuming.

People gathered to rally in support of their schools Wednesday morning

Students, parents and staff formed a human chain in front of Gerald McShane Elementary School Wednesday. They don't want to move, but the province says they might have to make way for French students. ( Lauren McCallum/CBC)

Leila Germile, a seven-year-old student at Gerald McShane Elementary School, is standing up against the Quebec government's threat to close her school.

"I don't like it because I don't want to change my school," she said.

"I get to be with my friends and I don't want to move to another school because then mommy has to drive further and further."

Germile was among a group of protesters who gathered outside the school in Montréal-Nord this morning.

Gerald McShane is one of three schools run by the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) that may be taken over by the French system. 

Last week, Education Minister Jean-François Roberge announced a plan to transfer Gerald McShane, as well as General Vanier Elementary and John Paul I Junior High to the local French board, the Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l'Île, to help with its space shortage.

"I feel for the 3,000 students who need a classroom in the next year, but what about our children?" said Lisa Germile, Leila's mom.

Leila Germile (left) and Sophia Coladonato, both age 7, are Grade 1 students at Gerald McShane Elementary School and they want to stay there. ( Lauren McCallum/CBC)

Francesca Pitruzzello, the chair of the governing board at Gerald McShane, told CBC News it's not just adults who are upset.

"The kids want to keep our school," she said. "This is really a jewel in Montreal North."

With files from CBC's Lauren McCallum

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