Students in fear of losing their school year staged a picket line across the street from Similkameen Elementary Secondary School on Wednesday, June 4.
Between 12 and 15 students participated in the protest, covering grades eight to 12.
“We want to get both parites back to the bargaining table,” said Haley Kaufman. “We’ve had our extra-cirricular activities cut, grad has been cancelled, and teachers can’t help us outside the classroom.”
“We’re afraid our exams will be cancelled,” said fellow student Reiley Terbasket, “we’ve had our sports banquet cancelled, and students who need extra help before the exams can’t get it.”
The students were determined to stage their protest for the complete school day.
The school issued a notice to parents earlier in the week in order to make them aware that walkout activities planned by the students would not be sanctioned or supervised by the school. The school also attempted to dissuade students from participating in the picket.
Principal Cate Turner said that meetings were taking place to make arrangements for grad ceremonies. She said it would be the province’s decision whether or not provincial final exams would take place. She noted there were still opportunities for students to get extra help within the present reduced hour school day.
“The athletic banquet has been cancelled,” she said, “but we are planning to incorporate the athletic banquet into the academic awards ceremony.” Turner said the decision to roll the two events into one was made because staff coaches would be unable to attend the event while community coaches would, creating an awkward situation for those athletes without coaches.