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Langley students walk out of class in protest

About 30 students walked out of Betty Gilbert Middle School Wednesday morning to protest the ongoing contract dispute between teachers and the provincial government. They were greeted outside by a school staffer who took down their names to record who was absent. Protest organizer Hailey Merritt can be seen holding a yellow sign - Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times
About 30 students walked out of Betty Gilbert Middle School Wednesday morning to protest the ongoing contract dispute between teachers and the provincial government. They were greeted outside by a school staffer who took down their names to record who was absent. Protest organizer Hailey Merritt can be seen holding a yellow sign
— image credit: Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times

Students from a number of Langley schools walked out in a peaceful protest over the ongoing teachers’ labour dispute on Wednesday morning.

The students are part of a B.C.-wide walkout that had 13,000 students on a Facebook page say they were going to leave class to demonstrate their frustration.

While the labour dispute impacts students the most, both the provincial government and the B.C. Teachers Federation have not acknowledged that point yet.

A few dozen students at Betty Gilbert Middle School walked out at 9 a.m. Numerous students at D.W. Poppy Secondary also walked out, sitting and standing outside the front of the school for most of the day.

D.W. Poppy Grade 11 student Katherine is among the organizers of the protest at her school.

“As younger citizens, we have a hard time getting heard among our elders, but this time we plan to get our message out there loud and clear,” she said.

Some students also walked out at Brookswood Secondary.

The message at all schools is the same — both parties should stop using students as their pawns in the ongoing labour dispute. Students said they aren’t taking sides — they just want to be able to have an education that isn’t interrupted or halted because of labour strife.

The government has been taking 10 per cent of teachers’ wages per day during job action, and teachers could ramp up striking.

Thus far, Langley students have missed two days off classes — on Monday of this week, and on Tuesday, May 27w.

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