An information package for students in regards to the day of action across Ontario set for

September 20/21st, 2018

Note: Some boards have a PA Day on the 21st. We advise those schools to participate in the walkout on September 20th instead!

In early July, Doug Ford, Lisa Thompson and the rest of the Ford administration released information in regards to the immediate changes set to take place in the education system across Ontario.

These changes include:

 Reverting the newly updated sex-ed curriculum (2015) to the one taught in 1998. Some topics that will be eliminated from discussion include things such as: same-sex marriage, gender identity, cyberbullying and sexting.

Deprioritization of the Truth and Reconciliation Commision which halts the efforts to decolonization of the education system in Ontario including the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge and teachings.

We the students need to show our government that we do not consent to this action. The impacts of these changes have been repeated by hundreds of experts: they will not keep our students, our women, our LGBTQ+ community, or our Indigenous population safe. It’s time for us all to stand up and fight for our right to education. Which is why on September 21st, 2018, students across Ontario are invited to participate in a walkout.

This guide will inform you, the students, how to bring this walkout to your own school! We want this movement to spread across Ontario, and following these simple steps will help make you and your school a part of modern history. Let’s make this the biggest school walkout Ontario has ever seen!

Step One: Deciding to Become a Walkout Ambassador

        Becoming a Walkout Ambassador is the most important action you can give to this movement. In order to bring the walkout to schools across Ontario, we need representatives at every school to spread the news to their school, inform teachers, and encourage students to rally! This position isn’t time consuming or difficult, but it requires passion and dedication to the cause. Protesting is always more fun in groups, so we recommend getting a friend or two to represent your school as Walkout Ambassadors.

        You may be wondering if you’re qualified for this position. Well, if you’re reading this, you probably are! The only qualification you need is passion for the cause and a voice to spread the word. Both of us are doing this for the first time too, so you don’t need to have any experience in activism or politics in order to get involved!

        In short, being an ambassador will require you to communicate with teachers and staff, spread the word across your school, and communicate your progress with us. You may also be asked to speak to the media on TV, in print, or on the radio. It’s not a hard job, but it’s an important one, and it’s an amazing way to get involved with activism and politics!

Step Two: Registering your Walkout

        This part is easy. Once you’ve decided to become an ambassador, just email us at ontariowalkout2018@gmail.com or DM us on Instagram @ontariowalkout18. Just send us the name of your school, your location, and the names of everyone on your team. We’ll give you any additional information then!

Step Three: Publicizing your Walkout

Once you’re registered, it’s time to get down to business. We recommend creating an instagram account for your walkout (use the format @yourschool_walkout2018). Connect with us on Instagram, and we’ll shout you out! Spread the account across your school and try to get as much visibility as you can. We’ll provide you content to post on it. Please use the hashtags #WeTheStudentsDoNotConsent and #WalkOutForOurEducation and send us pics and videos the day of!

Other ways to publicize your protest: posters in your school, announcements in class, announcements over the P.A. (if your faculty is supportive), and good old fashioned word of mouth! Get creative and make this event a success!

Step Four: Who to Inform

        There are a few people you need to inform about your walkout. Your faculty, supportive or not, must be notified that the walkout is happening. We will provide you with an information package to give to them, although it’s likely that they’ll already be aware. You can give the package to your principal or VP, and they’ll circulate it to teachers.

        Many teachers will be supportive of your cause, although it’s possible that some may not be. Don’t let this phase you - you’re here to change the world!

Step Five: Organizing your Walkout

This is where it gets real! You need to prepare your school for the day of action itself. The walkout is scheduled to begin at 1:00 pm, and recommended to go from 1:00 to 3:00 - however, it is up to you to decide exactly how long you want it to go for. We strongly recommend you have a rally at your school during the time of the walkout, because it adds legitimacy and an extra push to the event. Do this by including the rally information in your posts about the walkout, and encourage people to wear purple on the day of the event! Spread sign ideas and encourage people to make their own.

The key to a good rally is a good speaker. This speaker can be you, one of your friends, a member of student council, or anyone you like! We can provide a speech for you to read, or write your own if you want to. Feel free to include multiple speakers to encompass the many facets of the protest - women’s rights, Indigenous rights, and LGBTQ+ rights.

These are all simply suggestions. At the end of the day, your protest is your own! The most important thing is that you get your school population involved and out of those seats.

If you can, try to send out some kind of reminder at the time of the event. At 1:00, try to organize a social media blast, email blast, or even an announcement. Decide on a meeting place ahead of time, like your school field (we don’t recommend having the rally off of school property). You may have to leave class earlier to set up any speaker equipment or stands. If you can’t get your hands on AV equipment, a bluetooth speaker and a microphone app will work!

Step Six: Legal Information

As a citizen of Canada, you have the legal right to protest and you cannot be legally punished for not attending school or holding a peaceful rally. It is up to the discretion of the school to personally punish students for their actions, but there are many measures in place to protect you. First of all, the official position of over 25 school boards and unions across Ontario is against Ford’s changes to the sex ed curriculum. The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation as well as the NDP, OPHEA, and numerous other organizations have shown support for this cause before. The TDSB and most other school boards have strong policies on human rights, and these can protect you in a protest that exists to protect human rights. While individual teachers may be opposed to the protest, it’s unlikely that the school itself will go against you. If serious action is threatened, please contact us and we will contact the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

PLEASE NOTE: If your rally becomes violent or dangerous in any way, contains signs with offensive or harmful language, or results in the destruction of property, we can no longer ensure legal protection. Please use good judgement and encourage a safe and peaceful protest.

Thank you so much for your participation! Whether you’re taking on this role or not, please share this document as far and wide as you can to make this event as successful as possible!