Kelowna high school students stage protest

Close to 200 Rutland Senior Secondary students add their voices in support of teachers.

Rutland Senior Secondary students lined up along Rutland Road in front of their school this morning to protest a lack of progress in negotiations between teachers and the government on a new labour contract.

Rutland Senior Secondary students lined both sides of Rutland Road in front of their school this morning to voice their frustration over stalled labour negotiations between teachers and the province.

Close to 200 Grade 10 to 12 students turned out at 9 a.m. for the 30-minute demonstration, wielding signs with slogans in support of teachers.

Mariah Johnson, an RSS student who originally hatched the protest idea earlier this week and spread the word on Facebook, posters and a video, said she was ecstatic at the response.

“I’m really excited,” she said this morning. “I had no idea it would turn out to be so big. Look at all the students out here.”

While Johnson said the students largely are behind the teachers, she said her classmates also feel they are being forgotten in the bitter contract negotiating process now being played out, which will see teachers go on strike for three days starting Monday.

“More than anything else, I hope people will take away from (this protest) that students are affected more than anyone else…Our futures are on the line,” Johnson said.

Jon Rever, school district director of instruction for the Rutland zone, was watching over the protest this morning.

Rever said school district officials always get a little nervous when students walk out of class to stage a protest, but he said the RSS students were carrying out their protest responsibly.

“I strongly believe that students have a voice and they have right to voice their concerns,” Rever said.

He said RSS classes carried on during the 30-minute protest as the number of students involved in the protest was a small percentage of the 1,400 students at the school.

“And Rutland Middle School is right next door and classes are carrying on as usual,” Rever added.

Kris Sabourin, a parent with a daughter that attends Grade 10 at RSS, said she was glad to see students supporting the teachers.

A former school trustee with the Boundary School District, Sabourin moved with her daughter to Kelowna so she could benefit from attending a larger school with more student program resources.

“My husband is a teacher in the Boundaryschool district and my mom was a teacher so I have lived through this before,” said Sabourin, talking about the previous bitter contract negotiations between teachers and the government.

Sabourin said education is the most important thing goverment can invest our tax dollars in, educating students so they become positive contributors to society and not end up in prison or a burden to our social service network.

“The government has its priorities all wrong. How much was spent on putting a new roof on B.C. Place and how many people is that really going to benefit, when compared to the funding needs of our education system,” Sabourin said.



Just Posted

Day of Remembrance honours road traffic victims

People killed or seriously injured on Canadian roads remembered Sunday in Kelowna

Community Leader Awards: Coach Dean Kennedy

Kelowna Capital News Leader of the Year series on those that give back to the community

Snowfall warning between Merritt and Hope

As much as 20 centimteres of the white stuff is expected along a stretch of the Coquhialla

Double book launch in Kelowna

Authors Sharon Thesen and Erin Moure read from their new works Thursday at library

Westbank Opry announces Christmas show

West Kelowna music fans are encouraged to bring a food donation to help the less fortunate

Drones used in search for clues about missing women

A volunteer search party was supported by professional drone operators

‘An officer and a gentleman’: Const. John Davidson is laid to rest

Thousands attend memorial service for slain Abbotsford Police officer

Making a difference at Okanagan Boys and Girls Club

Kelowna company president rolls up sleeves with local organization

VIDEO: Coquihalla closed both directions near Merritt

Detours are available via Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 1

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week.

PHOTOS: Procession and funeral for Const. John Davidson

Thousands attended celebration of life for Abbotsford police officer

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates debate different paths for party

Third debate held Sunday, Nov. 19 at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Vernon poet makes poetry prize shortlist

He’s been involved with the craft since the ’70s, gaining recognition along the way

Most Read