Since the provincial government proposed several changes to Ontario’s education system, Muskan Nagra has received letters from people concerned about cuts to the arts, stricter OSAP policies and changes to the sexual education curriculum.
A Grade 12 student at St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School in Brampton, Nagra created an Instagram page, Dear Doug Ford, where she has posted nearly 100 anonymous letters addressed to the Ontario Premier regarding the potential changes.
“I’m someone who always feels the need to do something,” Nagra said. “I thought by doing this, people would have a platform to voice their concerns. Hopefully, they’ll reach Mr. Ford.”
Along with thousands of other students across Ontario, Nagra and her peers at Aquinas will be participating in the Students Say No walkout on Thursday afternoon (April 4). More than 850 high schools and middle schools have registered for the walk out, including over 100 from Peel.
On March 15, the provincial government proposed a number of drastic cuts to education in Ontario, including increasing the average classroom size, instituting mandatory e-learning classes and changing programming for children with autism.
Nagra, who hopes to begin university next year with aspirations of becoming a lawyer, is concerned about the stricter OSAP policies introduced in January, as well as the expenses that could be incurred through e-learning, as well.
For Selena DaSaliva, a Grade 11 student and one of the organizers at St. Edmund Campion’s walkout in Brampton, the increase in class sizes is alarming when she thinks about future high school students such as her little brother and cousins.
Meanwhile, the Says No Committee at Erindale Secondary School is worried about potential cuts to teachers.
“We have always been told that teachers are the building blocks of a successful life for students, but what will happen if we lose them?” a group of Erindale students said in a letter to The Mississauga News.
Ahead of the walkout, the Peel District School Board sent a letter to families, explaining how the board respects students’ rights to voice their concerns. They said safety is also paramount and advise students to remain on school property if they choose to participate.