© Christopher Gooding
Students at Springhill High walked out of class Wednesday afternoon in protest of the Chignecto Central Regional School Board’s decision to cut 41 librarian positions on the heels of a $6.5 million shortfall in the provincial budget.
UPDATE: Nova Scotia Education Minister Ramona Jennex has ordered the Chignecto Central Regional School Board to stop its proposed layoffs of librarians this afternoon. In a statement read in Legislature, the Minister says she has written the board telling them not to finalize their budget.
SPRINGHILL – Students checked-out of class early at Springhill High in protest of the proposed cuts to 41 librarian positions made by the Chignecto Central Regional School Board.
At 2 p.m. Wednesday, approximately 200 students walked out of class and assembled in front of the school where they sat down and quietly read a book, courtesy of their school library. Similar protests took place in Amherst and Truro.
“We don’t like the fact they’re going to cut librarians,” student Shelby Crowe said. “It’s unfair to the junior high students who will never get to know the benefits seniors have had with a library… it’s not just a library. A lot of people go to the librarian for help with on projects. It’s not like she walked off the street and got the job. She went to school for six years to qualify and now all that’s for nothing.”
Students credited their librarian for creating a culture where they can work on assignments, receive guidance on their school work or learn outside of their curriculum. Just as important, they said, the library is a bully-free zone thanks to their librarian.
“It's not just a library. It’s a safe place where people care,” Taylor White said. “Really, what can a bully do there? They have to be quiet and if not they have to leave.”
As if on cue, heckles from some students not participating in the peaceful demonstration emerged through a classroom window.
“It’s people like them we can get away from,” Akeesha Campbell said.
While the students were disappointed with the school board’s decision, they passed the blame back to the provincial government for introducing the $6.5 million shortfall in the CCRSB’s budget.
“I’m upset the budget cuts brought it down to this,” Rayliene Thompson said. “If they keep cutting there will be nothing left.”