What does it mean to invoke change? Surely it involves a ton of effort, hard work and determination. The sheer number of people needed to create a change would be extraordinary, right? Not according to WCI students. To them, calling attention to an important issue and kickstarting change is a fairly simple process, that only required a small group of about 30 people.
On Friday, September 21st 2018, a group of students organized and conducted a walk out, protesting Doug Ford’s new curriculum rollback that focused on cutting aspects of the current sex-ed curriculum. Some of these cuts revert to the 1998 version of the curriculum that does not cover topics like consent, gender identity and sexting. Students are upset about the rollback as, “consent and sexting are now, more than ever extremely important” says Elliot, an advocate for keeping the health and sex education current. Students also coordinated to contact a 570 News reporter to show up to their protest to take pictures and interview the students for a news article published later that day. A representative for Catherine Fife, an NDP member of the legislative assembly of Ontario who represents the riding of Waterloo, also attended the walk out.
After hearing about what students at WCI had done, Catherine Fife herself scheduled a meeting with the involved students. Garima M., one of the student coordinators of the walk out, expressed to Catherine, “we’ve been affected by things not covered by the 1998 curriculum and are suffering due to lack of education”. Garima also said that “Catherine was very receptive and understanding. She fully supported us, wants to get involved if we do anything else and said she will mention us in her next legislative meeting.” Just like that, in the span of 2 days, 30 WCI students had the attention and support of a provincial parliament member.
These students are taking action and standing up for something that is important to them. It didn’t take a huge crowd or some massive stunt to bring the desired attention to their cause, all it took was doing something instead of nothing.