Maple Ridge secondary students planning own walkout

Demonstration during last block, could see 300 students support teachers at a Maple Ridge high school

Maple Ridge Secondary School students are planning a strike of their own Tuesday afternoon (June 3) in support of the BCTF strike.

Maple Ridge Secondary School students are planning a strike of their own Tuesday afternoon (June 3) in support of the BCTF strike.

As teachers continue their rotating job action, students at a local high school are preparing a strike of their own.

Emily Ings, a Grade 10 student at Maple Ridge secondary, and her friend Dylan Morin are organizing a walkout at their school on Tuesday afternoon, for the last block.

Ings said they have commitments from an estimated 300 students, and are meeting with school administrators to tell them their plans.

“All of the teachers who I’ve talked to are really supportive,” she said.

The government imposed lockout means that students are unable to get help from teachers over the lunch break, and their time before and after school is limited.

“A lot of us are frustrated with it,” Ings said, adding that looming provincial exams add “a ton of pressure” at this time of year.

The rotating strikes, which happen locally again on Monday, means that students are missing a day of school each week.

“It’s horrible what they’re doing,” said Ings. “It’s the government – we’re in support of the teachers.”

Ings said students are also upset about the school budget, and that the grad transitions worker, who helps with career planning and work experience, is being cut. The budget for 2014-2015 will see six such CUPE positions reduced to two.

Ings has also heard that music and drama programs at the school face cuts, but the school administration said that is inaccurate – no such cuts are being planned.

On Tuesday at 2 p.m.. Ings is encouraging students to walk out, in their own demonstration.

“It’s a way for kids to speak up,” said Ings. “We want to change what’s happening.”

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