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Students protest education changes

Dozens of students from Glendale High School in Tillsonburg walked out of class last Thursday afternoon to protest recently proposed government policy changes to the education system, joining thousands of students in a province-wide protest.

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Walking in front of the school on Glendale Drive, the students carried placards protesting mandatory e-learning, increased class sizes, cuts to arts courses and programs, Premier Doug Ford and the Ontario government.

“We’re doing this because we don’t believe in what Doug Ford is doing,” said Glendale HS student Cailey MacIntyre, co-organizer of the one-hour protest in Tillsonburg.

“He is being selfish and acting selfishly towards our education,” said MacIntyre. “We deserve a solid education with all the information and the funding, and that’s why we’re protesting.”

Glendale student Izabelle Zarb protests in Tillsonburg last Thursday. Thousands of students across the province walked out of classes to protest proposted changes to Ontario’s education system. (Chris Abbott/Tillsonburg News) jpg, TN

“The effects of Doug Ford’s cuts will be long lasting,” said Glendale student co-organizer Rhiannon Arlow. “The kids will be affected for life. He’s only here for a few years, but the kids who are not going to get proper education, if these cuts go through, will have to live their whole lives with that deficit.

“And it’s just going to be extremely problematic for years and years and years,” said Arlow. “We already have problems with graduation and kids coming to class. We don’t need school to be any worse than it is.

“He’s not considering the fact that not all education is experienced the same for everyone. I know some people may be fine with these cuts, but there are lots of communities like us, and people up north, who are absolutely not going to be able to deal with this. It’s just completely one-sided. He’s not looked at anyone’s views except for his own, and for the people he represents up in Toronto. Well, we’re not in Toronto and we say no.”

Not all students who left class Thursday joined the organized protest, but MacIntyre and Arlow thanked the 50-100 students who did.

“I honestly thought we’d only have about 15 people,” said MacIntyre. “This is so astounding and I am so proud of all the people that came out.”

Similar protests were staged in Woodstock in front of MPP Ernie Hardeman’s office, and in Simcoe in front of MPP Toby Barrett’s office. Students from hundreds of schools across the province joined the protest.

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