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Students planning Bill 115 protest for Monday

While teachers and education professionals are set to protest the McGuinty government’s Bill 115 “Putting Students First Act” today, students at local schools are planning to show their support Monday.

Students at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute are planning a peaceful protest outside the school on Monday from 8:30-11 a.m. to show their support for the teachers.

“The purpose of the walk out is to show support for teachers, school support staff, and student rights,” said Facebook event organizer Kierstyn Bennett. “Our goal is to create awareness for the current civil rights battle revolving around the teachers unions and the government of Ontario, specifically the effect it will have on students and the public sector. We aim to uphold the civil rights of all Canadians, by doing what teachers cannot right now: take a stand by striking.”

She explains to visitors to the Facebook page that the most visible effect on Ontario students is the removal of extracurricular activities outside of school hours, such as clubs and sports teams.

“The Liberals claim that this bill will benefit students. Dalton McGuinty is quoted as saying ‘I think we’re on track. We’re doing what we need to do and putting the needs of students and families first.'”

She provides links to the “Putting Students First Act: Bill 115 and other schools also hosting protest events including Quinte Christian; Centennial Secondary School and Trenton High School:
Bill 115:

The PECI event here:

“Our extracurricular activities haven’t yet been taken from us and this is a form of expressing our concerns,” said Bennett. “I do not believe that all students are going to want to be standing on the front lawn of our school for an entire day. The point of this protest is to get our voice out to the media/public. Once the voice of PECI has been heard, we can go back to our regular routine of classes in the afternoon.

“There is a point where people start to get bored and that is when things can go from good to bad. I believe no one wants to see that happen after the effort that is going to be put into this protest. If you’re using this just as an excuse to get out of class, you’re defeating the purpose and should just not bother at all. This protest will be done in a peaceful way and respectful manner.”

“So let me get this straight. By removing the teacher’s right to strike and freezing their salaries, the government is putting us first?”  said student Lachlan Macdonald, who plans to participate. “Those who help us develop the skills we need to function in this world deserve proper compensation for their work, and removing their right to strike is beyond ridiculous… These people give their lives to help us succeed and they are repaid by the government with bull  like this so that some millionaire in Forest Hill can pay 3% less tax? That’s who’s being put first here, the greedy, self-serving bastards who will let the world burn for an extra bit on their bottom lines…
“Europe proved that austerity doesn’t work, so why the hell are we still doing this? When something doesn’t work, you find a better way. As Einstein said: “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Thomas Cheng, a CSS student, in a post to his school’s event, states the students should not side with the teachers and should support the government.
“The teachers are angered by the government’s Bill 115 and are taking out their anger by suspending extracurricular activities. We should not protest alongside the teachers in this, because it is their fault that said activities are not available. The government is doing what’s right by paying off deficit and making sure that children have teachers, and also money in classrooms to pay for things. This is mostly at the cost of the teachers’ wages being frozen for two years.

“The teachers are not allowed to protest by walking out of work, and are therefore doing the most they can by stopping voluntary extracurricular activities. I believe students should be siding with the government and protesting against the teachers for the lack of extracurricular activities. Students should tell teachers that they would like to participate in extracurricular activities, and tell the teachers not to take anger out on the students, who happen to be caught in the teacher/government crossfire. If teachers wanted the best for the students, they would agree to still run said activities, and also accept that their wages will be frozen for a period of approximately two years.”

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  1. Cassidy says:

    It is not the teachers who are taking away extracurricular activities, it is their union who is telling them to do this as it is their only possible way to protest, as Bill 115 removes that Charter Right. No teacher wants to take away extracurricular activities, especially the ones at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute because they recognize the importance of them in a student’s life. The student’s who took part in the protest today were standing up for the teacher’s rights as Bill 115 removes their right to protest, and their right to collective bargaining. There has been NO argument from the teachers about the two year pay freeze which also happens to be included in the Bill. The teachers offered to take the pay freeze last year and understand the economic crisis that Ontario is facing. Also, neither the teachers, nor their Union have ever threatened to strike over this issue. There has never been any fear of a late start to the school year, or interrupted classes. There is nothing about collective bargaining that would effect students in a negative way, and therefor the name “Putting Student’s First Act” is really just a bunch of nice words. On the OSSTF website one can find the Facts about how the Bill is really affecting teachers.

  2. JJ says:

    Why not it is a beautiful day to be outside !!!

  3. Megan says:

    I would think an education and proper preparation for their futures would be encouragement enough. Come on!

  4. Mark says:

    I would dare say that almost everyone has contributed to the financial mess by living beyond our means and beyond the taxpayers ability to pay. That would include teachers as well. Just because you are a teacher and assist in the development of our youth does not give you a free reign to unlimited salary dollars. I respect their profession but I also am aware that austerity measures are necessary. The 2 year wage freeze is not unreasonable in my opinion.

  5. wevil says:

    who put the govt. in the mess it is in it was not the teachers it was our MPP’S

  6. End the Madness says:

    Some make it sound like teachers are the only people to volunteer their time so the kids can have extracurricular activities. What about the baseball, soccer, hockey, skating etc associations that are run strictly by volunteers. These volunteers give of their time after having worked 8+ hours/day with no uninterrupted time for lunch. If I want my job, I do as I am told by my boss, work for the wage determined for my position, get no sick days and eat while I work- if I decide to strike, then I would be looking for another job!

  7. Paul Cole says:

    What did the kids do to the teachers that they refuse to volunteer.The teachers fight is against the Government. My understanding was teachers did extra curricular activities for the Students not the Government.It would seem the Students are finally realizing their being played by the teachers as leverage to get the Government to give in.

  8. windpat says:

    Look at some of these kids, siding with the government? Are you being serious right now? You are protesting the teachers for not volunteering for extra-curricular when their only workers’ right was taken away by the government? When have you kids become so entitled to the kind-hearted actions of your teachers? Kids, when you are in the real world, you will know how much teachers have put out for you and perhaps the difference between paid labour and kindness-motivated volunteerism.

  9. Val says:

    MPPs get a gratuity of:
    It’s the do as I say, not as I do. Teachers gratuity after 30 years is a factor of length of service, unused sick days and salary to a max of $46,000. MPPs get:
    Four years or less of service – 50% of salary*
    More than four years, less than eight – 100% of salary
    More than eight years – 150% of salary
    *the average salary over the last 36 months prior to retirement or resignation. Eligibility examples right now:
    McGinty – $313,000 (21 years),
    Dwight Duncan- $249,000 (17 years),
    Laurel Broten- $246,000 (8.8 years),
    After 10 months – $48,000.
    REALLY? After 10 months MPPs collect more than a teacher after a full teaching career? Year after year these payouts are being handed out. After less than 9 years, Ms. Broten’s payout could pay more than 5 teachers at full payout. Multiply that by the number of ministers that ‘retire’ each year. AND they can continue to work for full wages elsewhere.

  10. Mark says:

    If you want to end up in a situation like Greece keep asking for more and give back nothing in tough times. It’s time the teachers started to be part of the solution. Some reasonableness in these difficult times is in order. They aren’t starving and it was time to end that accumulation of sick days to cash in. Sick days are for when you are truly sick not a cash cow to cash in at the tax payers expense.

  11. Matt says:

    A wage freeze is not the issue here. The fundamental human rights of future citizens of Ontario are. The buck has to stop here. In April of this year all education employees agreed to a wage freeze and that wasn’t good enough. This law circumvents the Ontario Labour Relations Act and the Charter of Rights. What are we saying to these students who don’t get to play volleyball, “It’s okay to change the rules to serve your own agenda”? Read the bill people. You don’t even need to vote for your school trustees anymore because the Minister of Education can change anything she wants if it doesn’t suit her, without needing any say so. This is not about wage freezes; this is about democracy over dictatorship. Unless you’re okay with that?

  12. Luanne davis says:

    My concern is taking away the teacher’s collective bargaining rights. If it can happen to teachers then it can happen to you? Also how about the 3 unpaid PA days. Which other profession would be expected to work for a day and not get paid? My husband and my friends would not!

  13. JJ says:

    THey are paid far too much already!!!

  14. JJ says:

    Right on Sheena!!!

  15. caretaker says:

    Bill 115 affects all school employees. Teachers Caretakers, secrataries, IT support,Library tec.EA’s. Some earn far less than teachers. We all accepted a pay freeze last year but the government will not say that to you.
    They failed to bargain.Just dictated what was to happen.
    Why should anyone be expected to donate time for free to sports and Glee club. People should be proud of our teachers and thier dedication to students.To demand it is just unreasonable.To say all workers are over payed is unfounded, many can not afford to buy a home on thier saleriers or even put kids in sports.
    It is a Human rights concern.If this is allowed what kind of future are we giving to our children.
    Less freedom fewer rights.

  16. Hank says:

    No one requires the school districts to pay more than they can afford, and no one should require teachers to work for a wage they don’t consider adequate – that is slavery.

    But there was no need for a heavy-handed bill that imposed a particular outcome, and denied teachers the right to bargain.

    This reminds me of the quote attribted to Al Capone: “You accomplish more with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone.” The government held a gun to the teachers’ heads.

  17. Matt says:

    I don’t know a single person (besides the teachers I know personally), who would be willing to stay at their job, doing something outside of their designated job description without wanting to be compensated for it.
    By stating that the teachers should still offer to oversee the extra curricular activities just because the students want them to is ridiculous.
    There are plenty of free community activities in many of the towns and cities of Ontario that students can attend after school.
    Parents need to stop relying on teachers to raise their kids. Teachers are meant to facilitate learning, not babysit and be responsible for the success of every single child that walks through their classroom door.
    I disagree with Bill 115. As a nurse, I’m considered an essential service and cannot walk out. The province continues to screw us over all the time. I would hate to see that happen to teachers.

  18. Mark says:

    I don’t think students need to get involved in this. Teachers are very well compensated for their hard work. The province is in dire financial condition and it only makes sense that a salary freeze be implemented. They should be part of the austerity measures required. To be fair all public service salaries should be frozen and unlike in the past this should include municipal workers. It’s all tax dollars.

  19. Rob says:

    Awesome… absolutely fantastic. You have the right idea. This is an attack on civil rights, and will not end here if we do not fight back now.

    Ontario, its time to wake up.

  20. Zainib says:

    It seems that many people have the wrong perception of the actual situation because of the media’s portrayal… the teachers HUMAN RIGHTS are being threatened. In a few years, it seems that teachers may have to work for hours on end, without a break or the appropriate pay. Teachers are essential to the education process, and taking away their rights affects the youth… it is quite similar to the privatization of libraries idea.

  21. Kevin Douglas says:

    I hardly never support our government anymore but I stand by them on this for the most part. Teachers brought this on themselves by striking too much over the last 20 years. They abuse the fact that they are an intricate part of the development of our society and use that against those they want more from. But in the end the ones truly suffering are the kids. That’s why it’s called students first bill, because when teachers strike the students suffer the most. I agree that taking away their right to strike is undemocratic but what else can we do when the teacher of our country abuse that system.

  22. Steven Hardy says:

    The wage freeze is not the issue. Teachers had agreed to it already. It is the democratic right to negotiate. The biggger issue is what is planned for benefits and long term disability. Teachers are the first of many Ontarioans who will lose the right to negotiate if they don’t say NO to the government.

  23. Sheena says:

    Students have a hard enough time wanting to go to school in the first place. Take away things they actually enjoy about school, good luck getting them back through the doors! Kids need encouragement and something to reward them.

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