Letter-writer Marina McDuff – a Grade 10 student – laments that a spring protest at her high school changed little.

The bell tolls for thousands of us

Editor:

Earl Marriott Secondary is just one of the many overcrowded schools in the Surrey School District.

Editor:

Earl Marriott Secondary is just one of the many overcrowded schools in the Surrey School District.

The growing population in B.C.’s Lower Mainland is proving to be a problem for the already-crowded schools. The Surrey area needs new schools very badly.

Earl Marriott Secondary is one of two schools that have had to have major adjustments due to overcrowding. One adjustment made is the new bell schedule, because the school could not accommodate the sheer number of students with its original four-block day. Now, there are five alternating blocks, with separate lunch hours for juniors and seniors to maximize the school usage.

Another not-so-enjoyable situation is sharing lockers. Since there are only enough lockers for about half of the student body, everyone is forced to share. Another example is all the portables behind the school; students do not want to be out there but the main building is not big enough. There are many examples, but the most important thing is the lowered learning quality.

Class sizes have increased, which means there is less one-on-one help from teachers, and the new bell schedule makes it difficult for students to catch up on something they have missed when they were sick.

The overcrowding is negatively affecting both teachers and students. New schools may be what are needed, but unfortunately, that is far from what the government is giving out. At one point, not long ago, there were plans for a new much-needed high school to be built, but before anything happened, the plan and budget was cut.

Cuts in school district budgets seem to keep popping up. Parents are worried for their children’s education; teachers have to just make the best of it.

Students are the most upset. Last year, when the new EMS bell schedule was announced, students led an organized walkout to protest. Even though the walkout attracted media attention, nothing was done to change it.

The biggest question to be asked is what am I going to do about this? The easiest thing I or anyone could do is to write a letter to the local MLA, explaining the circumstances and describing what it feels like to be a student learning in this environment. I could also involve other people and do things like start a petition.

Students could look at raising money for things within the school; funds could be put towards things like new half-sized lockers so everyone could have their own, another lunch-eating area so we can have spirit events, a bigger library, permanent portables with a covered walking area or more computer labs. I know we can make the school that we have right now better.

In order for the students of today to be successful in the future they must first succeed in their education.

Asking for new schools sounds like a lot but really it isn’t when they are needed this badly. Is asking for a fair education for children asking too much?

Marina McDuff, Surrey

 

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