Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia high school students walk out in support of teachers

Thousands of students at several high schools across the province walked out of class Friday in support of their teachers who are in a contract dispute with the province.

Teachers are set to begin work-to-rule on Monday

Hundreds of students walked out of Citadel High School Friday to show their support for their teachers. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

Thousands of students at several high schools across the province walked out of class Friday in support of their teachers who are in a contract dispute with the province.

More than 9,000 teachers are set to begin work-to-rule on Monday. They've been without a contract for more than a year and negotiations with the province collapsed last week.

"It's pretty tense and nervous," said Matthew Adams, a Grade 10 student at Citadel High School who participated in the protest.

He joined hundreds of his peers as they marched to Province House. He said many of his friends are worried about how the job action will unfold. 

Teachers have said they want improved working conditions, but the province has said the union's demands are too expensive.

Rachel Thomas and Mary Jane Kelly say they're worried about how work-to-rule will affect their education. (Robert Guertin/CBC)

"They really need to go back to the bargaining table and negotiate with the NSTU fairly," said Nick Plasse, a Grade 11 student at École du Carrefour in Dartmouth. "They need to realize that we are the future and there's no price on that."

A message to the premier

Students chanted loudly at several locations, calling for the government to go back to the bargaining table. Some called for Premier Stephen McNeil to get the boot if the situation isn't resolved. 

Under work-to-rule the union has said teachers will focus on classroom duties only and offer no extra services. 

Work-to-rule will affect extracurricular activities, including sports and Christmas concerts. It's left many of the students wondering what will happen if there isn't a quick resolution.

Hundreds of Halifax-area high school students walked out of school on Friday and marched to Province House. (CBC)

"I think the best part about school is getting involved and being a part of council," said Mary Jane Kelly. "Without that, it takes the fun out of it."

"A lot of my friends are going on a trip to Harvard in January, and now they might not be able to go," said Madeline Saulnier-Gallant. 

Those who walked out on Friday were unwavering in support for their teachers.

"Some students are mad at the teachers, and they don't really understand that the teachers are trying to fight for our education," said Saulnier-Gallant, who attends Citadel High.

"This work to rule will affect us, but we support it because our teachers need better treatment," said Maya Taraschi. 

At Province House on Friday, students urged the province to negotiate with teachers. (CBC)

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