Valley View Elementary School students walked out of class on Wednesday to protest the impasse between teachers and the provincial government. Tens of thousands of students signed up for the province-wide student walkout on a special Facebook page.

Valley View Elementary School students walked out of class on Wednesday to protest the impasse between teachers and the provincial government. Tens of thousands of students signed up for the province-wide student walkout on a special Facebook page.

Comox Valley students take their turn on the picket line

Province-wide day of protest as those affected the most have their say

Students at schools in the Comox Valley fought back on Wednesday morning, with a walkout of their own.

Frustrated with the lack of progress in the dispute between the teachers and the provincial government, those affected the most stepped out of class and onto the streets to voice their displeasure in the dispute.

Similar protests took place in communities throughout the province on Wednesday.

The protesting students planned on missing the entire day of school.

Erika Massicotte of École Au Couer de L’Ile in Comox took part in the protest, as her way of letting both sides know that she’s fed up with the battle.

“I don’t believe that it’s fair that students are the bargaining chips for a dispute between the teachers and government,” said the Grade 11 student. “We are missing out on school hours, with exams coming up – especially the Grade 10s and Grade 12s, who are taking provincial exams.

“There are extracurricular activities begin taken away. Isn’t [school] for the children? Why do we have to be the ones to suffer?”

Massicotte said she and her peers aren’t taking sides. They are mad at both sides of the dispute.

“We are not for the government and not for the teachers – it’s the students we are doing this for,” she said of the protest. “We think it’s a childish dispute. Just come to terms and get it done with. Just agree. This has been going on for years and it’s ridiculous.”

Shelby Richardson, a Grade 8 student at Mark R Isfeld Secondary School in Courtenay, is organizing the protest at her school. She found the “BC student walkout for students” page on Facebook and realized that no one had started organizing it yet at Isfeld so she took the initiative.

“The BCTF and the government have been going back and forth for 13 years, which, for me and for many people that I know, that’s our entire education,” Richardson said, on Tuesday afternoon.

“And it’s getting very tiring having limited opportunities and having the teachers not be able to give us extra help that we need, so I decided when I found that this is going on, I would take a stand.”

She was anticipating that up to 100 students would take part in the Isfeld protest.

Similar protests were being held at other area schools.

–With files from Renee Andor

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