o what the students are doing here and how passionate we are,’ says walkout leader
Student across Ontario staged a walkout Thursday to protest against changes to the province’s education system. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)
Ontario high school student Natalie Moore had never been to a protest before. She certainly never thought about organizing one.
But she was angry about recently announced plans to increase class sizes in Ontario high schools.
“I saw a lot of problems arising from from their proposals. I emailed my MPP and, when I didn’t really hear back from him, I really wanted
And for a lot of us really we feel very urgently that we have to fight for a future that we want
– Rayne Fisher-Quann, student activist
“So I was speaking with some friends and I came up with the idea for a walkout . And I just kind of spur of the moment made a post and had friends across Ontario share it and it went viral.”
The political neophyte’s Instagram post culminatesn a province-wide walkout Thursday, that saw more than 100,000 students leave their classrooms. It’s believed to be the largest student protest in Canadian history.
Ontario students stage provincewide walkout to protest education changes
Moore says the government must take the students seriously.
“I would ask them to really pay attention to what the students are doing here and how passionate we are. We’re in the classroom. At the end of the day, they won’t be impacted by these changes.”
Natalie Moore, a Grade 12 student at Listowel District Secondary School in Listowel, Ont., said her ‘spur of the moment’ post helped encourage thousands of students to walk out. (Shana Cohen/CBC)
Student protests can be traced back to the earliest days of formal education and often were centred on college and university campuses.
But yesterday’s action and a number of recently successful initiatives have been spurred by a generation of younger activists, tired of letting others speak for them. Using social media to mobilize, they’re bringing forward issues they feel are being ignored and are eager to dismiss the notion they are lazy or apathetic about their futures.
Not feeling heard
“Young people aren’t feeling heard right now and we aren’t feeling respected. We’re seeing a lot of decisions made about our future and about our education that we’re not happy with,” says Rayne Fisher-Quann.