Statement by the
Upper Canada District School Board
Student Walk-Out on October 25 at Glengarry District High School
(Alexandria) – During the morning of Tuesday, October 25 students at Glengarry District High School (GDHS) engaged in an unauthorized activity which involved walking out of class, to protest that their school had been included as part of the Building for the Future Pupil Accommodation Review.
In light of how this action has impacted school operations at GDHS, Superintendent of Schools Tim Mills issued the following statement:
“Our first priority for our students in the Upper Canada District School Board is to attend to their safety and well-being when they are left in our care during the course of the school day. Given our obligation to supervise and care for students when they are at school, we were very concerned by the staging of an unauthorized activity by some of our students today at Glengarry District High School.
It is understood that our students and members of the local community have strong views about the value of GDHS as a special place for learning and growing our next generation. At the same time it is essential that the school can fully discharge legal obligations that it owes to students for their care throughout the entire school day.
With this in mind, staff at the school cannot condone the actions that students followed that interrupted the school day and interfered with the staff’s legal obligation to supervise students and maintain the schedule that defines a regular school day.
We want our students to be actively involved in any matter of local interest and we will always ensure that we draw their attention to the means and opportunities for lending their voice and ideas to the topics. By doing so, we ensure that the message – and not the method – is the focus for public attention. We want our students to understand that we are here to support them in their efforts to become engaged and involved in a wide range of matters. We also require our students to respect limitations in which schools can appropriately support their approach to how they share their thinking and their voice.
With this in mind, it is worth reminding our students and the general public that they can share their thoughts and opinions by completing the online Building for the Future survey at Building for the Future Survey; attending public meetings scheduled at various locations throughout our district; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are both concerned and disappointed that GDHS students who organized today's event disregarded requests by the school's administration to use other opportunities to share their concerns about the pending accommodation review process. In no manner can we accept others advocating that students – some as young as 12 years of age – are properly cared for by walking out of their school rather than being in class. Our staff will continue to bring to the attention of our students the appropriate channels available to express their views, so that we can maintain a balance between the interests of our students and our obligation to safely operate the school and supervise pupils.”
– Tim Mills, Superintendent of Schools