BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. Teachers Strike 2014: Student Walkout Not Productive, Says Teen

06/04/2014 03:13 EDT | Updated 06/04/2014 10:59 EDT

While thousands of students across B.C. are planning to walk out of classes to protest the ongoing teachers' contract dispute, some teens are speaking against it.

Sean Waugh, a Grade 12 student at Victoria's Mount Douglas Secondary, is proposing a walk-in instead to focus on actually learning and catching up on material missed on the days teachers were on rotating strikes.

"Going to class is far more productive than skipping; teachers are there so we can learn, and when all the students leave it makes these stressful times even worse," Waugh told The Huffington Post B.C. in an email.

Waugh started Facebook and @BC_Walkin2014 Twitter accounts on Tuesday and was trying to get #Walkin2014 trending, but there wasn't much time before the scheduled Wednesday morning protest.

For several days, two Vancouver students have been using Facebook to organize a mass walkout to protest being “put in the middle of the labour dispute between the BCTF (B.C. Teachers' Federation) and the Government.” More than 13,000 students across the province indicated they would join the walkout.

The organizers asked participants to use the protest as a way to highlight the effects of the prolonged contract dispute on students, and not as an excuse to skip class.

But other teens have the same idea as Waugh. A North Vancouver student has started rallying people for the BC Student Walk-In next week, in case teachers enter a third week of rotating strikes.

Organizer Sean Moody says a walk-in would look like any other school day, unless the district is striking. Then students can show up to do school work and study for the upcoming exams.

Waugh says he doesn't believe a walkout will sway either side: "It's simply a waste of school time."

"Walking out of class may send a message that we're sick of all the strikes that have been going on for years; however, staying in class when given the choice to leave shows both the government and the BCTF that we care about our education and that their fight, although justifiable, needs to come to an end."

Waugh, who plays for the three-time provincial champion Mt. Douglas Ram football team, says he declined multiple athletic scholarships for an academic one from the University of Victoria to pursue a medical degree.

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