Blog | June 12, 2013

By Annalise Klingbeil, Metro Edmonton, June 11, 2013Grade 12 student Hayden Weir skipped class to attend his first ever protest on Tuesday.The rally, which Weir helped organize with a fellow student in two weeks, attracted nearly 500 Edmonton high school students to the Alberta Legislature to protest government cuts to K-12 education.On Tuesday at 11 a.m., students walked out of their classrooms and got on yellow buses booked by student organizers and paid for using a donation from the Alberta Federation of Labour. Organizers said there were 19 buses in total to ferry students from 10 different Edmonton schools to the peaceful protest.At the Legislature, a rock band played as students waved placards and munched on cookies and $1,000 worth of pizza, paid for using donations from various unions.Weir said while he understands the chances of cuts being reversed are “slim to nil,” the event, which was dubbed Taking Back Our Education, aimed to enlighten students about underfunding in education.“What we’re trying to attempt to do today is get that knowledge out there to the students that this is happening,” Weir said.Several speakers delivered speeches to the students, including Alberta Liberal leader Raj Sherman and representatives from Public Interest Alberta, CAPSE and #EdStake.“This is the best class in democracy ever,” Bill Moore-Kilgannon, the executive director of Public Interest Alberta, told the crowd.Former high school teacher and NDP education critic Deron Bilous also addressed the students, and commended them for standing up for their education.“I'd be proud of you if you were my students,” he said.Organizers said they believe a district-wide notice sent out by the Edmonton Public School Board about the event, warning students they would be marked absent if they weren’t in class, only motivated more to attend.Weir, a student from Jasper Place High School, said support from teachers for the rally was “a really touchy subject.”Read the article at the Metro.