Students at Port Hardy Secondary School joined together in a rally Monday afternoon to bring a Social Justice 12 class to their school.
Maeve Fogarty and Josh Junglas, both grade 11 students, were upset when they discovered Social Justice 12 was not listed as an elective choice for their final year of high school. So they decided to do something about it.
“This is kind of like our last hurrah,” Fogarty said.
Students gathered at the school entrance, where free pizza was distributed, and wielded signs with slogans like, “Do it for the students!”
“What do we want?” Junglas shouted from a platform.
“Social justice!” the crowd replied.
“When do we want it?”
Social Justice 12 is an accredited, ministry-approved course that aims to raise students’ awareness of injustice in the world and enable them to work towards social change.
Thirty-nine students in grade 10 and 11 have signed a petition in favour of a social justice course – more than enough to make a full class. PHSS even has a teacher qualified to teach the course.
“We took it to the school board,” said Fogarty. “But they said it was the school’s decision.
“It’s taught at NISS,” she added. “Why can’t it be taught here?”
PHSS Principal Steve Gray said it was a matter of scheduling. “When we add a course, we have to take something out. Our first priority is that students have what they need to graduate, and that’s how we build the timetables.
“We just added Kwak’wala, and I’m very pleased about that. But our resources are limited.”
Junglas presented a collection of letters from parents, teachers and other students who believe a Social Justice 12 course would be beneficial to PHSS. He stressed the importance of a class that teaches people how to join together for one cause.
Junglas motioned towards the crowd of sign-carrying students at the entrance. “This is what social justice is all about.”