From left: Sanjina, Ella, Olivia, Alex and Moorea were part of the student walkout on April 4.

By Kathryn Stocks

On April 4 at precisely 1:15 p.m., students at Mowat started pouring out of the school to protest changes the Ontario government is making to education, including mandatory online courses and increased class sizes. It was a province-wide protest, organized by students on social media.   

Mowat joined the Students Say No website and started its own account called Mowat Says No. “A couple of students really jumped on it,” said Lakshmi Anandaraj, co-president of the Mowat student council. “Students wanted to make their voices heard.”

The council helped organize the time and place of the walkout while the students made posters. They only knew one week in advance and a lot happened a few days before.

“It wouldn’t have been as easy to organize without social media,” Lakshmi said. “It really got the word out.” Word of mouth was important, too.

They had an excellent turnout with students from all grades joining the protest and waving signs in front of the school for more than an hour. “It’s important for the people of Toronto to know we don’t want this.”

Lakshmi said they are fighting against online courses and bigger classes because student time with teachers is important. “The kids who need help the most are the ones we’ll be failing.”