Sask. students rally at legislature to protest extracurricular ban

Students from all over the province gathered at the Legislature to voice their concerns over the government’s ongoing battle with the province’s teachers.

If a deal can’t be reached by the end of the school day Wednesday, all extra-curricular activities would be cancelled province wide.

Chants of “Let Us Play” and “We Support Our Teachers” echoed as students one by one took the microphone to have their voices heard.

Gracie Andersen and Jonah Schnell, two Grade 12 students from Coronach said that if extracurricular activities are banned, all their hard work this year would be for nothing.

“We’ve worked so hard in basketball this year, both the boys and girls basketball teams have ranked second in the province,” said Andersen. “We were really looking forward to hosting regionals at our school this year, for our Grade 12 year.”

Andersen added that students are on the sides of the teachers and are fighting for more than just athletics, they are fighting for equality in schools.

“We want kids with disabilities to have the same opportunities as us,” said Andersen.

Jonah Schnell said that while the students are completely on the sides of the teachers, he doesn’t agree with the way they are handling the situation.

“We do not support the way they are using us to get what they want,” said Schnell. “Even though we are all behind them, they are still using us for what they want, and taking away things that we have worked so hard for and we were granted because of our privilege to try our hardest.”

Schnell and Andersen said that the effects of the job action are reaching far beyond the halls of the schools.

“It is affecting everyone in our communities, our parents, our families, and especially our teachers,” said Schnell. “It’s a very stressful time for not only us, but everyone else too.”

Justin Meredith, a community coach at Unity Composite High School, says that what the government and the STF are doing isn’t fair for the kids.

“I don’t agree with it, you can’t use kids as pawns,” said Meredith. “This is the STF’s bargaining chip right now. If they let this go on, then our kids in the future are not going to have the support and the resources they need to learn in that environment, because right now it’s not working.

Meredith added that, especially at small town schools, there’s a sense of community and family and taking away extracurriculars would hurt that dynamic.

If a deal is not reached, the province will cancel the annual Hoopla tournament, even with regionals set to take place this weekend.

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