Students hold walkout to protest Catholic school board fundraising policy
Katherine DeClerq, CTV News Toronto
Published Friday, April 20, 2018 4:29PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 20, 2018 6:42PM EDT
More than 200 students in Milton walked out of class on Friday to protest the Catholic school board’s policy on fundraising.
The policy prohibits students from fundraising for charities that don’t align with the board’s religious values. This includes charities that support abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem research.
Around 10 a.m. on Friday, students at Bishop P.F. Reding Catholic Secondary School walked out of their classrooms to protest these new policies. Students who participated in the march held signs that said “don’t stop the donation, we’re a new generation.”
“Yes, I am Catholic, but I am also a human being and as a human being it is important to me to support every human in the world,” student Audrey Esenezie told CTV News Toronto.
Student Karyssa Chan said that while she understands they attend a Catholic school, she thinks the board is trying to promote pro-life doctrine in the wrong way.
“I think when people support the Canadian Cancer Society, Sick Kids, UNICEF, the Terry Fox Foundation, they are not doing it because they are pro-life,” she said. “They are doing it because they have people who have been touched by cancer.”
The Halton Catholic District School Board voted five to four to defer the issue for further consultation. This vote took place Tuesday after Ontario Education Minister Indira Naidoo-Harris wrote to the trustees suggesting they suspend the implementation of the policy.
“This is about respect this is about fairness, it’s about really making sure that policies the board moves forward with are reflective of their communities,” she said to CTV News Toronto on Friday.
Diane Rabenda, chair of the Halton Catholic School Board, sent a statement to CTV News Toronto saying they welcome student feedback during the consultation process.
“Fundraising at the school level is an integral part of the educational experience for our students, and we know that many of our students are upset with recent amendments to our board’s fundraising policy. All stakeholders, including students have an opportunity to share their feedback on these amendments through the policy consultation process currently underway.”