News / Halifax

Walkout: Students across Nova Scotia ready to rally in support of teachers

Organizers say at 12:45 p.m. Friday students will get up and leave school and head outside.

Kenzi Donnelly poses for a photo holding a sign she'll bring to Friday's walkout.

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Kenzi Donnelly poses for a photo holding a sign she'll bring to Friday's walkout.

With a roar, thousands of students are hoping to send a message of support for their teachers.

At 12:45 p.m., high school students from more than 40 schools throughout the province are going to walk out of class Friday and hold rallies in their communities.

Kenzi Donnelly, a founder of Students for Teachers and grade 12 student at Prince Andrew High School in Dartmouth, said the group has written a letter and talked to politicians, but it just isn't doing enough.

She said students don't feel they're being taken seriously.

“When we heard about the talks being broken off the other day we got really, really fed up. It was frustrating for us because we wanted both sides back at the table,” she said Thursday.

“We just thought we needed to do something more and bigger to send a very strong message.”

Through social media, Students for Teachers now has upwards of 2,000 members.

Donnelly said the walkout was inspired by one staged by students in the late '80s.

Manuel Moncayo-Adams, a Grade 12 Dartmouth High School student, said word and support for the action caught fire quickly.

“I think students are absolutely passionate about it. This is the one thing they can actually see the effects right in front of their eyes,” he said.

Jeff Harper

There is concern about breaking the school's exemption policy where students with perfect attendance records can apply for exam exemptions for some classes. Moncayo-Adams said he believes if the event is big enough, it's considered an act of civil disobedience and students would be clear.

The group is getting criticism that students are using the walkout as an excuse to skip class, and concerns about safety.

“This is being advertised to high school students...we have strong opinions of what is happening and we are taking proper steps to ensure our safety is our main priority,” Donnelly said.

“We're taking this very seriously and this is about fighting for our education, not an excuse to leave class.”

Students asked to stay in school

The provincial Francophone school board sent out a message to parents Thursday warning this kind of demonstration can put student safety into question.

The board asked students to stay on school grounds, and recommended parents talk to students about the implications of the demonstration.

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