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studentssaynoprotest

We, the provincial organizers of Students Say No, felt it necessary to release an official statement to Doug Ford, Lisa Thompson, and the Ford government as a whole in response to their disrespectful, dismissive, and completely false allegations about the origins of our movement.

Students Say No was founded by Natalie Moore, a grade 12 student from the Avon Maitland District School Board in rural Ontario (the education minister’s own riding). She decided to start the walkout after hearing about the proposed cuts that she knew would be absolutely catastrophic to the education system we have here in Ontario, as well as to its most vulnerable students. Quickly, the movement spread across social media and she was joined by the student organization March for Our Education as well as thousands of students across Ontario.

There was absolutely no union or adult involvement at all in any part of our journey, and honestly, I’m sure you know this. We would greatly appreciate it if you stopped lying to the people of this province in order to discredit our work.

The movement spread quickly because students care about their education and are begging to be heard. To claim that this walkout was organized, orchestrated, or puppeteered by adults is not only false, but extremely insulting to the young people of Ontario. The attempts to diminish these efforts speak for your government loud and clear: you are scared of us. The youth of Ontario are a force to be reckoned with, and we took this opportunity to show you exactly how strong we are, and you’ve made it clear as day that our strength terrifies you.

What you must understand is that this province is a democracy, not a dictatorship. You can’t ignore, discount, and dismiss the voices of people who are telling you that you’re harming them. You’re here to serve us, not the other way around, and we the students will not stand for having our voices and our lives ignored.

You do not sit in these classrooms. You do not have to take these online courses. You do not suffer from these cuts. The people who see the difference in class sizes and online learning and autism funding are telling you that this will not work for the students of Ontario, and you’re making the conscious decision to ignore us. We are smart enough to know when we are being shortchanged for your own gain. And we are tired of being disrespected - being told that we don’t have the autonomy, the power, or the responsibility to organize ourselves. We are the students, and we’re making our voices heard. It would be wise to listen.

Signed,

Natalie Moore, Rayne Fisher-Quann, and the Students Say No Provincial Organizing Team


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