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"We can't wait for adults, we have to do this now"

Placard reads "You're a mean one Mr. Ford"
By: 
Pam Johnson

April 5, 2019

Tens of thousands of elementary, middle and high school students walked out of class in Ontario to protest cuts to education on April 4. Chanting 'Hands off Our education' and 'Fire Ford' students are taking matters into their own hands and organizing resistance in their schools. 'We can't wait for adults, we have to do this now' said one student protester in Toronto.

Recent announcements of Ford's cuts that will increase class size follow a barrage of cuts attacking public education affecting students, teachers and parents alike. Beginning with the rollback of the sex-ed and Indigenous curriculums in the summer, through attacks on autism therapy funding, and cuts to OSAP for post-secondary students, Ford and his henchpeople have been relentless.

But, they been met with resistance at every step and have been landing stinging, but not decisive blows as protests large and small have put pressure back on Ford's government. They have been pushed back on parts of their agenda including teacher snitch lines, and forced to change their plan on funding for students with autism.

And the resistance to Ford is just beginning to be organized and networked. College and university students held a series of protests and walk-outs beginning in January at the announcement of cuts to OSAP and they have plans for more actions. This Saturday, April 6, there will be an education rally by teachers’ unions that will bring some of the threads of resistance together. Thousands of teachers, students, parents and school staff will be bussing in from across the province. Stewards assemblies by labour councils and the Ontario Federation of Labour have been happening across the province this spring to push for mass action against Ford, including the a mass healthcare action planned for April 30.

Students are also leading the resistance to climate change and have held regular 'student climate strikes' on Fridays following the lead of climate activist, Greta Thunberg, including a global day of action on March 15 involving thousands.

Historically, student protest has been a spark to ignite larger fires, like Paris in 1968 and the anti-war movement of the 1960s. Students again are showing the way to organize the kind of resistance that we need to push back the governments and the greedy.

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