In the last week I have attended two protests concerning the
Nova Scotian education cuts. These protests have made me proud
to be a student. It is an amazing feeling to be united with so
many other students and teachers fighting for a cause. It is
a shame that such a drastic occurrence has caused this unity.
It concerns me as a student to think of going through school
with classes of 50 people. I am in a class of 38 right now. It
is too big, hard to concentrate. I am a grade 12 student, not
a university student. High school classes should be smaller due
to the age and maturity difference of the students.
Students protest education cuts
in front of Province House in
Halifax last week.
Tim Krochak /Herald Photo
Copyright © 2000 The
Halifax Herald Limited
I am artistic. I would not have made it through high school
without classes like sociology, art, political science, literature
I am a creative thinker, bad at math and science. I cannot see
how my intellect would be nurtured or appreciated in an atmosphere
without classes suited to my interests or a teacher able to listen
to my thoughts. Where is the time for discussion in a 50 student
class? I have imagined myself going through the new proposed
school system. I would be an outcast, miserable in all my classes
and thought not very intelligent, when in truth I would be given
no place to try. It scares me to think of letting my future children
to go through this proposed system. I know that if had I gone
through this I would be a drop out.
17 of the 50 or so teachers at my school have already been
laid off. There were not enough teachers at my school to begin
with. Jennifer King, the teacher that I will always remember,
the teacher who has influenced my life, the teacher who I admire,
and the teacher from whom I have learned the most has lost her
job. Where will she get the chance to touch someone as she as
me if she is not teaching, or even if she is teaching in a class
of 50? She wont, and it will be a great loss to many students.
I first attended a protest organized by high school students.
It was an impromptu walk out that started with a junior high
school walking to Cole Harbour District High School. The grade
7s, 8s and 9s showed up at the school, and
our entire student body walked out together; many teachers and
administration staff followed us. It was a heartening sight to
see such a diverse group of people holding make shift signs,
in hoards walking for our education. We walked to a near by high
school, Auburn High.
The students at Auburn were under strict orders not to walk
out. The group I was with circled the school chanting, pleading
to the students to join our march. It was a symbolic march for
us. The entrances to Auburn High was blocked with police and
administration. The few students with the courage to sneak out,
with threats of suspension and even explosion were emotionally
cheered as they joined our crowd. We continued on in the rain.
The next week I attended an organized protest where there were
some students from Auburn High carrying large neon green signs
saying "I was suspended for supporting what I believe in".
These signs were highly noticeable amongst the prefabricated
white union signs. Mr. Buck, the principal at Auburn High did
not support his students. I question why he is involved in education,
if he will not support it. Should he not be teaching his students
to stand up for themselves, for their future? Do the political
science classes at Auburn high not talk about every Canadians
right to the freedom of peaceful protest? It made me sad to think
of the students being threatened of suspension, expulsion, or
even the removal of the graduates prom if they dared to stand
up for their education.
That first day we walked for four hours in the cold rain stopping
at each high school along the way to the Halifax legislature.
We arrived there wet and weary. During the last block of the
walk my best friend Michelle and I had been holding hands, trying
to keep one another from dropping from exhaustion. We reached
the end of the street and saw the crowds of students in front
of the legislature. It brought tears to my eyes to see so many
students caring about their future. It was beautiful to see so
many students united, chanting "Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! We wont
let our teachers go!".
I attended the Tuesday protest with Ms. King. I wanted to
carry a sign exclaiming that this was my teacher, and she had
changed me forever. To tell how it would have been impossible
for that to happen in a class of 50, and that the class that
she taught me, Political Science and Sociology wouldnt
even be offered with the lack of teaching staff. I went there
to support all of the teachers laid off, and for the future of
my province. We deserve an education. Everyone needs the same
chance to learn.
Students across Nova Scotia and the rest of Canada: Tell us
your story on how education cuts in your province are affecting
you and your school. We will add it to this editorial by Jena
Cole. If you have video tape of whats happening in Nova
Scotia, send it to us.