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School Board statement on student walk-out (Photos added)

Wednesday, October 03, 2012   by: Carol Martin
This morning, about 9 a.m., over 150 students stood up and walked out of class in protest. 
Yesterday, students at Central Algoma Secondary School (CASS) heard that extra curricular would be canceled indefinitely because their teachers would not be participating in those activities and that's what sent them out of class this morning.
At first they took to the highway and walked a short distance down it, but police were called as a precaution, said Algoma District School Board Superintendent of Education Asima Vezina.
Students returned to school property without incident and OPP remained on the scene to make sure students stayed safely off the highway.
"They are trying to take sports away from our school," said Rod Moreau, a student at CASS. "We don't think that's right."
Teachers in some schools across the province are working to rule in response to recent legislation (Bill 115) by the Ontario government that freezes their wages and severely limits their right to bargain collectively.
Some students at CASS said they believed it wasn't fair that teachers were using them to improve their contract while others said they supported the teachers against Bill 115, called Putting Students First.
Moreau said students just stood up and walked out of the school together shortly after 9 a.m. to make the point that extra curricular activities are important to them.
Just over half of them returned to class at lunch time but about 70 remained on the school lawn around the sign and near the highway by the beginning of class after lunch.
Vezina said that all but about 40 students had returned to class before the end of the day.
Some of the students spoke with reported that the Vice Principal, Jim Belsito, was telling them they should go back to class or face suspension.
Vezina assured that no students were suspended for walking out of class.
The full text of a release from the board follows.

Student walk-out at Central Algoma Secondary School

The Algoma District School Board (ADSB) confirms that approximately 150 students walked out of class this morning at Central Algoma Secondary School (CASS). 

Students indicated that they were protesting the proposed interruption of extra-curricular activities at the school due to labour negotiations as per the Putting Students First Act introduced by the Government of Ontario in September.

School administration closely monitored the student protest with the support of the Ontario Provincial Police, to ensure student safety. 

By afternoon, all but approximately 40-50 students returned to class. 

School administration has advised the students at Central Algoma Secondary School that they are expected to be in classes for a regular school day tomorrow.

The Algoma District School Board reminds parents and students that there are other effective ways to protest or show support for an issue without disrupting the school day. 

Teachers are committed to ensuring the instructional integrity of the school day, and we are asking parents and students to also respect instructional time in our classrooms.

We believe parents play a key role in ensuring their children are well informed about the current labour situation, and providing acceptable ways for their children’s voices to be heard. 

We appreciate the support of parents to help us ensure that learning and instruction in the classroom are not interrupted.

Once again, we wish to emphasize that extra-curricular activities have always been considered voluntary, as they take place outside of the instructional day. 

Extra-curricular activities characterize the professionalism and dedication that our staff brings to student learning both inside and outside the classroom. 

Currently, there are varying levels of extra-curricular activities occurring across the district and the province.

We assure you that the Algoma District School Board is committed to continuing to negotiate in good faith with all employee groups and we are confident that we will be able to work through this process with the professionalism and dedication our staff has always demonstrated. 

We will continue to provide updates for parents on our website ( as needed.

Earlier coverage of this story

CASS students walk out

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Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
DangerCat 10/3/2012 4:55:52 PM Report

"The Algoma District School Board reminds parents and students that there are other effective ways to protest or show support for an issue without disrupting the school day." -- I'll be sure to have students and parents remind teachers of this next time they go on strike.
richmond5 10/3/2012 5:16:20 PM Report

Here Here DangerCat. Well said.
geterdun 10/3/2012 5:20:56 PM Report

yea danger cat you do that..oh and good luck with that ehhhhh....

You can all thank the liberal goverment of the day for bringing this on your children.Taking away peoples rights to negotiate will be the demise of this goverment and of the liberal party.This undemocratic political way of thinking is not how we roll in Ontario Dalton. This rediculous legislation will be shot down in court, just like it did in Wisconsin......after millions of tax payers money will be spent by the liberals trying to defend it...........It really is to bad that the Liberal goverment has done this to our children, their leader and all of his followers should be punished for their greedy selfish acts of politics.
Just like Mr. Bently will be punished for lying to the public about the $300 million tax dollars wasted on cancelling the gas plants in Brampton simply to win and election.....not to mention E-Health,Ornge,MNR cuts and on and on and on...POLITICS IS JUST SO UNDERHANDED ISNT IT??....... Have a great day Kids........
Lovethenorth 10/3/2012 5:25:09 PM Report


So awesome to see students practicing civil disobedience. Standing up for what you believe in is something to be fostered!
Mike99 10/3/2012 5:27:33 PM Report

I agree with dangercat. Way to go !
scottstewy123 10/3/2012 5:37:45 PM Report

This was a stunt helped by the teacher unions.
scottstewy123 10/3/2012 5:37:45 PM Report

This was a stunt helped by the teacher unions.
Dictionary 10/3/2012 5:42:33 PM Report

GLAD TO SEE THE YOUTH STANDING UP! They aren't afforded a vote yet are impacted deeply by who is in power.
joshua_r_b 10/3/2012 5:43:34 PM Report

We've seen this a lot in recent history; government stepping in and mandating union workers back to work and allowing big business to back door them if they don't like their stance. If all unions don't stand together we're all going to loose our strength one by on. We shouldn't let the government dictate to us what has been fought for in the past by our predoseser's. If your a union you should support other union's in there fight, even if you don't agree 100%.
joshua_r_b 10/3/2012 5:44:04 PM Report

We've seen this a lot in recent history; government stepping in and mandating union workers back to work and allowing big business to back door them if they don't like their stance. If all unions don't stand together we're all going to loose our strength one by on. We shouldn't let the government dictate to us what has been fought for in the past by our predoseser's. If your a union you should support other union's in there fight, even if you don't agree 100%.
By your leave 10/3/2012 5:50:41 PM Report

The students should just keep doing their extracurricular activities unsupervised. What's the problem, and who's school is it anyway?
muf 10/3/2012 5:59:39 PM Report

Agreed ...joshua_r_b.
kodak11 10/3/2012 6:07:34 PM Report

Why would the students be in support of the teachers?.The teachers have shown they dont care about the students,just the money they make.
gidgette 10/3/2012 6:09:32 PM Report

My son was one of those kids "practicing civil disobedience" and what did he learn? If you stand up for your "rights" and " what you believe in" you get suspended! I think the kids had every right to protest for things they believe in, thats what we teach them right? And to speak up for your rights. Because my son spoke up and told the other students they did have the right to be out there when the vice pricaple told them they didnt and had to return to class or face suspention, he was suspended for being " defiant". I don't see this as being defiant,but as standing up for their rights. I will be at the school with my son in the morning, so once again he can voice his right to disagree with this suspension!
flyhawk25 10/3/2012 6:13:00 PM Report

How about the next 'reporting' is spell checked?
Yes Carol. Take a moment, proof read and thank a teacher.
OMGWTF 10/3/2012 6:20:57 PM Report

joshua - go back to school and learn how to spell and use grammar.

Here's an idea.

How about the teachers hit up their very rich pension board for a greater distribution of wealth so that us poor taxpayers can get a break? It's one of the richest going and can surely afford to let you have some accumulated sick days? Maybe give you back some of their profits? It's part owner of the UK Lottery so it can afford to give you what is really yours. Taking more in taxes from me to fund your arrogant requests is a stupid way to get public support.
JustAGuy2 10/3/2012 6:24:03 PM Report

Agreed. Teachers use students all the time.
Poor teachers and all there perks.
JessB22 10/3/2012 7:22:25 PM Report


I am a CASS alumni and I agree with what they are doing!! I cant believe that the staff are allowing extra curricular activities to be cancelled! When I was there that's what CASS was known for!

If I was still there I would have done the same thing and I know that the rest of my class mates and team mates would have been out there too!

B Boy 10/3/2012 8:19:03 PM Report

For the record, the teacher's pension fund is insanely wealthy. I believe they've owned the Air Canada Centre, The Toronto Raptors, some part of the Maple Leafs among other things.

My pension fund was decimated through the economic meltdown. I'll have to work an additional 10 years now.

girlfriend 10/3/2012 8:35:43 PM Report

The kids have every right to voice their concerns! It is a free country - unless the Liberals take that right away too! This is a good time to thank those teachers for the MANY hours they volunteer to make sports, clubs and plays happen. In what other profession do we expect workers to volunteer? If everyone gave three hours a week -what a world it would be! Police officers could volunteer with big brothers, professional chefs could volunteer at the soup kitchen and mental health professionals could reform politicians! Remember, the government put people in this position, it is happening all over North America! Don't be fooled - if you don't fight back we will be thrown 100 years back! The rich keep getting richer.
P.s. teachers pay for their pension plans - from their pay cheques! Maybe the government can learn a thing or two about budgets from them!

sleepybert 10/3/2012 9:07:28 PM Report

So, the teachers crap on the students by cancelling extra curricular activities and then the school board threatens them with suspension for disagreeing with the teachers. So basically the teachers and the school board are using and bullying students to get what they want and the students are once again told to do what they're told and shut up.

If I was a student I would be taking the board to court over any suspension since the students are being punished by the entire education system.
Timbob 10/3/2012 9:07:30 PM Report

I agree with "By your leave". The students should just keep doing their extra curricular activities.

Parents could supervise the extra curricular activities.

Oh,... wait a minute... Sorry, my bad. I don't know any parents that are finished work at 3:00 pm every day... LOL!
Biggfinn 10/3/2012 9:09:27 PM Report

Back in 1974 (yes a long time ago lol) we all walked out of class and protested at the Board on Albert Street. For the life of me I don't remember all of the reasons for our protest (I was 14 at the time), but it had something to do with not being allowed to wear jeans, and girls having to wear skirts). Nobody was suspended, though we were threatened with it and due to that threat we continued the walkout. Kinda hard to suspend 80% of the high school :) Oh - and we won the right to wear jeans - both girls and boys. :)

Power in numbers!

Also in 1971 3,000 students staged a walk-out to protest the halt of extra-curricular activities very much like today.

Go for it students!
Beckers13 10/3/2012 9:48:20 PM Report

WOW good job students its crazy how everyone is on this obesity rant well sorry to say cutting this out isn't going to make anything better keep going CASS you can do it keep it up! There are kids that have gotten in trouble
little lulu 10/3/2012 10:12:53 PM Report

What's with all of the teacher bashers? Do you send your kids to school every day and let them spend more time with your children than you do? I sense some sour grapes and jealousy over hours and vacation time. If that's all you have, and making very general and uneducated statements like "teachers use students or was it crap on them? all of the time"keep your kids home and get all of the vacation time that you want! oh and then you wouldn't have to pay their hefty salaries and could live off of tax payers like they do...because they don't pay taxes right? seriously your homework! Go spend a week at some more readings from all of the perspectives...then come back and write something intelligent!
By your leave 10/3/2012 11:17:13 PM Report

I wouldn't call it teacher bashing little lulu. I would call it irresponsible volunteer bashing. Maybe you wouldn't be mad at your daughter's soccer coach if they decided not to show up for games and practices, but I certainly would. The students should just carry on without these irresponsible volunteers. It's their school afterall.
Prrrrrrr 10/3/2012 11:36:55 PM Report

Appeal ALL suspensions...this is something the board will have to suck up! If the board upholds the suspensions...take it to court. I was in on that walk out in the 70's it was no big deal...actually kind of cool;) Seriously how much do kids learn in school anyway...they come home with a ton of homework and spend half the day in gym and the other half on outings. Not like back in the day! I`ll take my kid biking or to the art gallery after school you the teacher show him how to do his math!!!
Prrrrrrr 10/3/2012 11:41:23 PM Report

Any Grade 12 student whose been involved in sports could coach as well as a teacher, if not better! They coach at the Y....
speed7 10/3/2012 11:46:31 PM Report

First of all, I dont think you realize the comlexity of this reason for suspensions. The school is responsible for your child. When they protest but then then chose to walk off school property onto a hightway, and as result that needed policing then Yes your childs behaviour was irresponsible. Suspension are warranted. Kids have a right to voice their opinion. No problem. But on school property though. Choosing to leave school property, making up foul language for signs, walking onto a highway where god knows what could happen to your kids??? A vehicle on the highway hits one?...... I dont know many dangerous possibilities there? Instead of becoming defensive as a parent ... try thinking about the consequenses first. There is a reaosn why they take attendance at school?. This attendance is tracked throughout the day so if you dont show up for afternoon classes. You need to be located. Its common sense. What would you parents say if the school doesnt know your kids whereabouts? I mean seriously?
little lulu 10/4/2012 12:09:02 AM Report

by your leave...your statement volunteer bashing sums it up...they're VOLUNTEERING their time...time that is not mandatory, time that they CHOOSE to spend with students because they want to!Soccer coaches generally have a vested interest in showing up to games because they are often coaching THEIR OWN children...and if not because they love coaching, just like teachers do...again, do your homework....find out why they are doing this....the government has left very few options and this is certainly getting attention...just not sure if most people are willing and able to understand the reasoning...for some reason people can't read past wage freeze in the media....
By your leave 10/4/2012 12:42:37 AM Report

As you said little lulu volunteering is not mandatory and the vast majority of teachers in this province don't volunteer for any extracurricular activities. No problem. Nobody really cares that most teachers don't do any volunteer work.

The problem is with the ones who do volunteer and then don't show up. They are simply irresponsible volunteers.

I don't need to do any homework little lulu. Volunteering is volunteering. If you can't keep your volunteer commitment then don't volunteer in the first place, or at least let the organization know well in advance that you won't be showing up so that alternate arrangements can be made without disruption to the activities.

Remember, students, the school is yours so just keep showing up for your extracurricular activities and continue on without your volunteer learders' support. If it's football, organize a touch football game against your rival schools instead of full contact. If it's lunch-time extra curriculars get student council members to sign waivers and supervise the clubs. There are lots of things you can do without irresponsible volunteer supervision. Get a little creative :)
little lulu 10/4/2012 7:02:23 AM Report

you don't have to do your homework or don't want to? where do you get this information that most teachers do not volunteer? i would like to see some numbers please......and not showing up because they don't want to would be one thing...not showing up to take a stand on an issue they believe in is quite another...but it's ok, don't do your homework and stay ignorant :)
sinikka 10/4/2012 7:33:02 AM Report

This is not the fault of the government whatsoever. This is the fault of the teachers and their union. The kids are used as pawns and the teachers made out to be heroes. The students suffer if there are no extra curricular activities and the unions grin.I agree that the students should protest but their support is misguided.The teacher's union is stronger than most corporations in canada and it is time the government took them on.I have read the issues and i support the government totally.
mudrunner 10/4/2012 7:54:55 AM Report

Support the students not the lazy teachers they are our future.
taateevoy 10/4/2012 9:44:41 AM Report

Speed7 -
As I am currently a student at Central Algoma Secondary School I completely disagree with you. I was one of the main speakers of this walkout and am very proud of what we have done. Yes some of the kids acted irresponsibly yesterday but that doesn't mean you have to be stereotypical about our entire generation. We are not lazy, arrogant, or disrespectful in any way. We voiced our opinions peacefully and had alot of support from many parents. Many of us, like me, were out there protesting against the passing of Bill 115, and others were out there in protest of the teachers taking away our extracurricular activities. We knew, unlike many others, what we were out there for, and are proud of what we have done. We got our voices out there and the government has obviously seen our point and what we stand for. As for your previous comments I feel like they were very degrading , and quite frankly very rude. Contrary to what many believe this Bill is NOT putting students first, and the teachers aren't being treated as they should be. We stood out there, not only for our rights, but for the rights of our teachers who we respect and thank for their dedication to our schooling & extracurricular activities. Maybe before bashing Us Students, and our generation, get your facts straight about why we were out there. If you don't actually know then you are more than welcome not to comment.

I myself speak for the School and am very proud of everybody that participated in the Cass Walk Out of 2012. Thank you all for your dedication.
Doc Holiday 10/4/2012 9:55:32 AM Report

Yes, people need to get past the teachers wage freeze issue. Why you ask? Simple, it's not the issue! Again, it's not the issue!!!! Holy cow people, this is about losing their right to collective bargain. The media and government continue to mention this so called wage freeze because they know it's one of the main things that gets the public against teachers and on their side. Let the jealousy go regarding their salaries and vacation. The last time I checked we all had the opportunity to become a teacher and still do for some of us. It doesn't matter how much vacation or money they make, in the end you have to be a special type of person to do that job. And sure, just like every profession there are some bad apples but most of them are dedicated to our children. I remember a few years ago (maybe longer) there was a report that was released indicating that over 60% of teachers quit their job within the first 5 years. Hmmm, how could this be when teaching is so easy and you get so many perks such as good salaries and vacation. Interesting...

As for the student walk-out, good for them. It's great to see our youth stand up for something they believe in. However, I agree that there were some serious safety issues and at the end of the day, part of their job is to ensure your child's safety. If throwing a little threat around about suspension will save your child's life then I think it's worth it in the end. Some people are so angry and so quick to lash out without thinking first. As I tell my 5 year old son, take a step back, count to ten and breathe. Okay, now let's talk about the problem with a clear head. ; )
NickBastone 10/4/2012 9:59:50 AM Report

Dear Editor

I am writing you today in regards to the recent CASS student walkout. I am a former CASS student, aunt to current CASS students, mother to a future CASS student. I am appalled at what is happening, first the teachers sign bill 115 that says they are not allowed to strike anymore. So instead of lying down and succumbing to the government and their wishes, they take it out on our children, NO MORE AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITES. We put our kid’s welfare in your hands every day and think that you are making the right choices for our children while they are in your care, guess that’s not the case, you are more concerned with what benefits and how much you can make for looking after our kids for 8 hours a day. You pretend to be concerned about the children’s welfare, when in reality you are not. A lot of children depend and look forward to the after school activities and programs that you provided, without them some of these children will have nothing to look forward to, as many in our community cannot afford the local organized sports. So as you use them as pawns and cut programs at your discretion to better yourselves, you in turn are hurting Not the government, your union or us as parents, but those kids that looked up to you and seen you as more then there teachers but as their friends. Not only are you cutting out there after school sports and other activities, but how many scholarships does this compromise? Will my nieces not be able to apply for potential sports and extracurricular scholarships that could have potentially sent them to college? If so then now you are hurting their education and I am NOT! Ok with that!

Last time you held a strike, if I remember correctly, who stood out there beside the teachers and showed there support? Yah that’s right the kids did. When the kids stand up for something they believe in and show a peaceful protest you do NOTHING!!! To show them your support. When all this started to happen you tried to stop it. Teachers were blocking the kids in the school, and they even tried to lock the doors keeping them inside the school. To me you are nothing but another government paid employee that wants more, but gives nothing in return. You should be ASHAMED!!! When the cameras and local newspapers were around, Outside with the kids stood Mr. Belsito and Mr. Wooton, looking like they were supervising the whole situation and ok with it. As soon as CTV pulled away and the Sault Star left, Mr. Belseito pulled rank and told the kids to get to class or suffer a suspension, when 75 students stood their ground and refused, he started taking down the names. At the end of the day 2 of those names suffered a 2 day suspension and a 5 day suspension. I can only speak for one of those and say she got it, due to the fact that she stood on a bench in the court yard and stated “come on everyone lets go outside.” For doing this she got a suspension for being an instigator although when questioned outside by local opp, all the students banned together and said “No one is the leader we stand together as one.” Shame on you Teachers, next time you strike let’s find the leaders and through them in jail or have them charged and not show our support.

I say we as the community need to show our support to our children, teach them what the teachers do not. You have a right; you have a voice and an opinion. Stand up and for what you believe in even if it means you need to make a peaceful protest to be heard.

Disappointed Mother
FreeThought 10/4/2012 10:07:49 AM Report

Perhaps it's time for parents to step up and conduct the after-school extra-curricular activities.

Congratulations to each and every student for standing up for their right to democracy. You may not be old enough yet to vote, but you showed integrity and honesty. Your parents should be proud and support you. Good for you!
lostinspace 10/4/2012 11:18:17 AM Report

It seems this issue of extra curricular activities is huge. How did it ever get to this point? Why didn't the teachers ask for parent volunteers as I for one would be more than happy. But NO they didn't because they wanted full control of that too. They don't even like parents watching practices. Kind of like the unwelcoming feeling when visiting the classroom unannounced- they don't want you to hear them yelling at the kids. Complete overhaul of school sports is needed- get involved and maybe teachers won't feel so obligated.
speed7 10/4/2012 1:12:30 PM Report

I will definately feel free to comment. Parents could have volunteered for these extra activities. Why dont we see any of them stepping up to the plate? Teaching them to stand up and not take any crap from anyone and protesting off school property is better? No I think voluteering to coach is a better solution. Students never should be involved in any union protests period. In case you didnt read the posts others made the same comments about the small group of students walking off school property needing POLICING! Twisting things in your favour is'nt going to get you anywhere.
little lulu 10/4/2012 3:31:02 PM Report

For all of the teacher haters....can you at least read this?!! I will clarify if you don't understand...
Bill 115, passed by the Liberal government and supported by the Conservative Party last month, strips teachers and education professionals of their right to bargain collectively. It also places the government beyond the reach of the Ontario Human Rights Code, Ontario Labour Relations Act, and the courts.

speed7 10/4/2012 4:55:58 PM Report

Where in a teachers contract does it say it a requirement to coach and do all this volunteer extra curricular work after school. Please tell me where? I'll tell you where, NOWHERE! you say you supported teachers in the past. Well fine and good. And see even you said it yourself, last time you did it peacfully. What possibly did you think the students did in support this time by creating nothing but a fiasco! The board administrators fly over to CASS and the police as well to help with? What did that accomplish? NOTHING! Good for you for sticking up for teachers but they DID NOT ASK YOU TO GO OUTSIDE AND START YOUR OWN LOBBYING OFF SCHOOL PROPERTY!! Worry about your classes and let the union negotiate with government.
nmckenna 10/5/2012 2:46:48 PM Report

First off, good job students! I support standing up for what is right!

I wonder if having tuition assistance for students entering a post secondary education had an impact on these events.

I haven't been in the loop, but if the government is helping students with tuition upon entering a post secondary education, and this indirectly has affected the wages of teachers because funding has been set aside for this section of education... they feel robbed in some way, so in turn they take away extra-curricular activities...

I know this sounds silly... but it almost sounds like the government wants to help with getting kids through school, and find those good jobs. But they aren't helping to keep the programs kids need most as they grow up? It's just sad that the students have to demonstrate their rights, but are told they don't have them.
Linkeed 10/6/2012 12:07:27 AM Report

The signs seem to promote anarchy instead of any particular solution...
Linkeed 10/6/2012 12:09:35 AM Report

While it must seem unfair to teachers that this bill has been passed, cutting initiatives for student enjoyment at school is only taking out your frustration on students. This is rather narrow minded of them.

In addition, Ontario is over two hundred billion dollars in debt, and teachers are government employees. What does a teacher think is going to happen when their government is that much in debt?

Surely they don't expect to get a raise?

The money they're being paid doesn't even exist; the government doesn't own the money they're getting. This was really just a matter of time. Furthermore, an issue like this isn't going to go away because students are being incited to protest with signs that say "***k the gov't!". The issue is far more economic than this, and teachers know it.

In fact, it states right in the bill that this bill has been released because of significant 'financial challenges' in Ontario, which is a nice way of saying that there is No. Money. To. Be. Paying. These. Teachers.

Why can't they protest this bill? Because protesting over something that isn't available to attain isn't going to change anything. Crying over spilt milk doesn't un-spill. And besides, teachers aren't even having their wages cut. They just aren't getting raises.

And with all due respect, teacher salaries have increased by 34% since 2004 (The Sault Star). In comparison with the 16.2% increase in inflation since 2004, it doesn't really appear as if teachers have been losing money at all (TheBankOfCanada). In addition, with 120 days of sick leave paid at 90% of your regular rate, I'm having trouble seeing the controversy with sick days? (Legislative Assembly of Canada). In fact, it seems like teachers are substantially ahead, and since Ontario is expected to be in less dire straights by 2018, it doesn't seem like teachers are really roughing it so hard.

Maybe we could stop with the hissy fits? This is absolutely ridiculous for people in authority to act this way. Grow up, and yes, there's a pun intended.

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