Roughly 30 intermediate students from Huntsville’s Pine Glen Elementary Grades 7 and 8 classes flexed their democratic muscle this morning as they held a sit-in to protest the ongoing strike between teachers and the Provincial government.
Starting at the first bell of the morning, students holding homemade placards reading “What about US?” and “Don’t put us in the middle of your BATTLE”, gathered in the main foyer of the school and promptly sat down in protest. The foremost issue on their minds being the loss of their extracurricular activities and end-of-year trips.
“When this all started and were told our extracurricular activities were being taken away we thought maybe we can do something to prevent this,” said student organizer Megan Cameron. Cameron said initially the students had planned to simply not attend school today in protest but ultimately decided a sit-in was a better route.
“Instead of not coming to school we decided we’d be coming to school, but not learning and doing a sit in. We thought that would show the teachers that we can come together and can show leadership.”
Cameron added that if the issue persists, the students are prepared to take further action.
“We’re coming up with other plans to do on Wednesday’s and we’ll do this more often until we can what we need and what we want,” she said.
The sit-in was organized collaboratively by students and parents alike over the last 24 hours. One of the parent organizers, Kim Gordon, said she helped research alternatives to the kids initial plans to not attend classes at all that day.
“There’s a leadership group in the intermediate grade, my son is involved in it and he came home and said that they wanted to do something [regarding the strike], but their idea was to actually keep the kids home from school – which wasn’t going to happen – so I did a bit of research and found out that three schools in Waterloo had done the same thing.”
Gordon added that the protest was not simply against the loss of their extracurricular activities but in protest to the strike as a whole,
“It’s not targeting any group. It’s not against the teachers and it’s not against the board or the government, the kids are just saying ‘get together and talk’ and showing that they’re the ones that are being affected.”
For their part, teachers and staff at Pine Glen seemed supportive of their students choice to get engaged in the democratic process and make their voices heard with no animosity visible between the two parties.