Student Power
Presentation Junior High School
Corner Brook, Newfoundland

By Laura (grade 9)

In the past few weeks, the school system in Newfoundland has been under pressure from students and parents. Last spring, teachers were told by their union not to involve themselves in extracurricular activities that would require travel time. Instead, they were only to take day trips, or not travel at all. Students were justifiably upset.

In the past, substitute days were provided as one day for every eight teachers per school. The provincial budget of last spring saw these days cut. Because of this cut, teachers refused to cover for other teachers. Most of them felt that a substitute teacher should be provided for teachers travelling with students to sporting events, science fairs, drama competitions, and choral and band performances. Students objected and organized peaceful protests across the province.

During the month of September, students involved in extracurricular activities who did not want to see their opportunities for school travel come to an end simply did not attend school. Walkouts took place across Newfoundland. Day after day, radio and new spapers were filled with headlines of more students who had walked out in protest of government cuts and, on September sixteenth, a province-wide walkout was held. Thousands of students walked in protest of the cuts, and within forty-eight hours, an agr eement was reached between the government and the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association (NLTA).

As a student who participates in extracurricular activities, I think these protests showed the power of students when student rights were being trampled.

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