Students protest imposed teacher legislation

Students at several public high schools in Windsor-Essex have walked out of classes Wednesday.

More than 2,000 students have signed up on Facebook saying they don't like how their teachers are being treated by the provincial government under Bill 115.

The imposed legislation freezes teachers' wages for two years and cuts their sick days.

Shane Chappus is a student at Sandwich Secondary School in LaSalle and a student representative on the public school board.

Chappus doesn't believe the students who are protesting have a total grasp on the reasoning or the consequences.

"A lot of them are doing it simply because they want to either skip class or because they see it as an exciting opportunity to fight the power or something similar," said Chappus.

Beyond that, even school board administrators and trustees are having a hard time understanding the full implications of the legislation.

Warren Kennedy is the director of the public school board.

"There is still a lot of confusion and the information sessions we've attended put on by the ministry, essentially, what they're saying is that there will be regulations to follow to deal with the confusion," said Kennedy. "So it's extremely difficult to have that information in students' hands, in senior administrators' hands, in unions' hands, when it's not there."

Some students said they are well versed on Bill 115 and its implications.

"We're supporting the teachers who have lost their right to strike in collective bargaining. We want to show that students do have a voice and we do want something done about this," said Walkerville high school student Derric'Ka Talbot. "I'm not going to lie, there are a couple of kids who just want to skip school, that's bound to happen, but we know what's going on for the most part."

Kennedy said principals are aware of what's happening Wednesday.

"We're concerned about student safety. If you're going to do something, if you're going to protest, you need to understand why you're protesting and I'm not sure students understand," said Kennedy. "There's some confusion even at our level as to what Bill 115 represents."

Some principals have already discussed the consequences with students of a walkout during class time.

Kennedy said it will be up to individual principals to decide on reprimands.

[ [ [['xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx', 11]], '27013743', '0' ], [ [['keyword', 9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999]], 'videoID', '1', 'overwrite-pre-description', 'overwrite-link-string', 'overwrite-link-url' ] ]