Ottawa

In their words: Why Ottawa high school students walked out

CBC dropped by three Ottawa high schools to ask students participating in the walkouts why they took part, and what they're hoping to accomplish.

Students concerned about class size, autism cuts, e-learning proposals

Students at Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School stage a walk out as part of a provincewide day of action against changes to the education system. (Kate Porter/CBC)

Students across the province cut class Thursday afternoon to protest proposed changes to Ontario's education system.

CBC dropped by three Ottawa high schools to ask students participating in the walkouts why they took part, and what they're hoping to accomplish.

Alwiya Hashim, Grade 12, Gloucester High School

Alwiya Hashim, centre, is a Grade 12 student at Gloucester High School. (Kate Porter/CBC)

[Because of] all the cuts that are happening within the system, all the autism programs as well as e-learning.… Everyone has different kinds of learning, and we can't just force them to do one specific kind.

Lucca Orsini, Grade 10, Gloucester High School

Lucca Orsini is a Grade 10 student at Gloucester High School. He helped organize the walkout at the school. (CBC)

I was reading the news, seeing all the changes and I thought, we shouldn't be having these changes to our education. I wanted to protest against these changes. I saw a lot of schools doing it so I decided why not take leadership and organize it.

Anthony Caputo, Grade 12, Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School

Anthony Caputo is a Grade 12 student who organized the walk out at Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School. (CBC)

There were a lot of other schools around Ontario organizing and I felt strongly about the cause, so I felt that Pearson should participate in it.

I was hearing about a lot of changes to the curriculum such as sex education. How they are changing up the math curriculum, how class sizes are increasing, and I just think that we should just have a manageable curriculum for both students and teachers.

Aileen Adan, Grade 12, Colonel By Secondary School

Aileen Adan is in Grade 12 at Colonel By Secondary School. (CBC)

The changes Doug Ford made to our education system are really ableist and classist. It affects people who can't afford many things in our society and people who have disabilities very tremendously. For example, the autism funding cuts really impact people with autism and their families on a daily basis.

Sophia White, Grade 12, Colonel By Secondary School

Sophia White, right, wants to be a teacher. (Kate Porter/CBC)

I'm studying to become a teacher, so obviously it will affect me in the future. I think with larger class sizes and teacher cuts … it's already hard to focus as it is. A lot of my schoolmates were saying our classes are at full capacity also, [and] with budget cuts to the autism program, [it] is just not OK.

Nassima Marouf, Grade 11, Colonel By Secondary School

Nassima Marouf is in Grade 11 at Colonel By Secondary School. (CBC)

I'm walking out because I don't want to do the online courses. I don't want future generations to have to do math, chemistry, physics online. We really need our teachers in our classrooms to teach us. Having a teacher online from a private company who doesn't really care about our well-being to teach us isn't really what we want to see.

Scott Sharma, Colonel By Secondary School

Scott Sharma, on the left, helped organize the walkout at Colonel By Secondary School. (Kate Porter/CBC)

The first thing that I saw that got me interested in organizing was the autism program funding being cut in schools.

I think it sends a message to the government that we're not going to be messed with.

Having a brother who has gone through these programs because he has special needs, I saw how important it was for him to contribute to our community, and I saw him really develop through the program.

I was actually quite sad to see those programs be cut.

I think it sends a message to the government that we're not going to be messed with.

Students across our school board and across the province will be emailing their MPPs, walking on the legislature ... to say that these educational changes are not what we want. It's not 'for the people,' as the government says, and we, frankly, say no to these changes.

Ottawa students participate in provincewide walkout to protest education changes 1:30

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