Student walkout Penticton

A group of enthusiastic students walked off the Penticton Secondary School campus Wednesday morning.

The 20 or so teens, were participating in the BC Students Walkout for Students organized through a Facebook event page.

"Missing school, especially high school is difficult, because you need time to prepare for exams," said Kayla, a grade 10 student, who declined to give her last name. "But I feel strongly enough about this to take action."

The Facebook page is hosted by Vancouver students Victoria Barker and Mackenzie Timko. As of Wednesday, according to information on Facebook, more than 13,000 students had registered to walk out.

A statement on the page says, "The students in British Columbia have been put in the middle of the labour dispute between the BCTF and the government for their entire schooling. For some of us that means our entire thirteen years of education. The two sides are like parents who are divorcing and have stuck their children in the middle for the last 13 years of education."

The walk out at the Penticton high school started around 10 a.m., with students carrying homemade signs, with such messages as "strike + lockout = walk out."

They remained in front of the school on Eckhardt Avenue for most of the day. 

"All through school, we've been dealing with the strikes, and I don't think it's fair that we don't have a say in our education," said a student named Sam, who planned to participate in the walkout off school grounds all day.

Grade 11 student Justin, said he left campus because it doesn't make sense to him to cut the wages of the people who are teaching the kids of tomorrow.

School District 67 Superintendent. Wendy Hyer said according to numbers provided to her by high school and middle school principals, about 48 kids walked out district wide.

That includes 16 from Penticton Secondary, 10 from Summerland Secondary, 10 from Summerland Middle School, eight from Skaha Lake Middle School, seven from KVR Middle School and seven from McNicoll Park Middle School.

No students from Princess Margaret Secondary School participated, Hyer said

Those numbers could also have fluctuated over the course of the day as more students joined in.

Penticton Secondary had the most organized demonstration, with students carrying signs, Hyer said.

"I'm happy to see that for the most part kids stayed in school. I'm proud of those kids," she said. "But I'm also respectful of the students who felt they needed their voices to be heard."

There will be no repercussions for those who missed school, but parents were contacted.

The main thing for students is they missed out on instructional time.

Rotating strikes continue this week. School District 67 schools will be picketed by teachers on Friday.


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