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Chilliwack Students Walk Out in Support of BC Teachers and Public Education

by Michael

Chilliwack Students Walk Out in Support of BC Teachers and Public Education
Chilliwack Students Walk Out in Support of BC Teachers and Public Education
Chilliwack Students Walk Out in Support of BC Teachers and Public Education
Chilliwack Students Walk Out in Support of BC Teachers and Public Education
Chilliwack Students Walk Out in Support of BC Teachers and Public Education
Chilliwack Students Walk Out in Support of BC Teachers and Public Education
Chilliwack Students Walk Out in Support of BC Teachers and Public Education

CHILLIWACK - On a cold and rainy afternoon, Sardis Secondary students walked out of their classrooms, and took to the sidewalks of the unremitting Vedder Road to show their support for BC teachers and public education.  Starting at noon, students from ages fifteen to eighteen held signs, painted their bodies, and raised their fists as passing vehicles blasted their horns in solidarity.

“The group is gathered today to support our teacher’s union [as well as] all public sector unions under the BC Liberal government” stated one of the protest organizers, Connor Sliman.  “Right now we have a core group of about fifty to seventy-five [student walk-out participants], but in total, with people coming and going, we have a total of about 200.”  There are three separate walkouts planned across Chilliwack for today.  Organizers estimate over 500 students will have participated by the end of the day in Chilliwack alone.

Sliman further articulated the jovial group’s intention with today’s walkout.  “Our consensus is if we are part of the system, the customers of the education system, why shouldn’t we have a say in how it’s run?  If the BC government has within their curriculum to teach us affirmative action and to voice our political opinions – [to] get involved in politics – and then doesn’t listen to us, what kind of message does this send?”

While the teacher’s union has not publicly supported the student walk out, the student participants believe there is a tacit understanding between students and teachers: the teachers support the student’s protest, just like the students support the teachers.  Given the incessant honking and thumbs up from passing motorists today, it is clear that there are many community members who support the action as well.

Another organizer of today’s action, seventeen-year-old Max Gardner, had this to add:  “This is to show the community, the government, the teachers, that we’re not just doing this to skip school.  We’re out here in the pouring rain, my hands are frozen, and we actually care about what’s going on.  We want change to happen and we want to be considered.”

According to the soaking student’s of Sardis Secondary School participating in today’s protest, if a fair and just deal is not reached between the teachers and the BC government, this may not be the last we see of the engaged and energized youth; they want to see fair negotiations, not government imposed legislation.  If necessary, more protests may be planned to show their continuing support for BC teachers and public education.

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