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Getting a bead on Bill 115 no easy

As we all know, Bill 115 limits teachers and enforces a new contract, and unhappy teachers means unhappy students. As a Grade 12 student at John F. Ross CVI, I am directly impacted by this bill, as are many other students.
Actions have been taken and teachers have spoken out. Walkouts in the Upper Grand District School Board have been attempted and shut down, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation has created a “speak out” campaign and many small efforts have gone unnoticed.
Personally, I believe the bill limits teachers’ abilities and infringes on their rights.
The principle of “putting students first” can no longer be achieved. These ideas and actions are, unfortunately, not what the students see.
At John F. Ross, many clubs have been discontinued by teachers. Although sport teams and other extracurricular activities still take place, the tension is felt by all. Students are left asking questions such as “Why is the government doing this?”, “What’s going to happen to extracurricular activities?” or “Am I going to miss school?”
The biggest problem in regards to students and this bill is lack of information.  In Guelph, students planned a “walk-out” of their own based on the wrong principles and were planning a protest in front of city hall, which has absolutely no relevance to the bill. Simply writing this letter took research and massive interpretation of the bill on the Ontario government website.
Students should be informed of the bill directly, considering the fact that it applies to their education.
Each school should take the time to inform students of the events that are occurring and the predictions for the future. Parents of younger students at elementary schools should receive letters detailing the events and issues, and high school students should have the opportunity to get involved.
Ideally, information should be shared not only through newspapers and radio stations, but from the school board itself.
It is unjust that students are left blinded, hoping for the best. Communication and clarification about the bill and the limitations surrounding it are key. Actions must be taken to ensure students are well aware and informed of this current issue.
Gabriela Bowden
Guelph

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