My name is Mike Bettiol, and I am the president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation in Peel. I represent about 3,500 education workers, about 3,200 of which are teachers and occasional teachers.

You may be aware that on April 4, there was a student-organized walkout in Peel Region schools. Students, through a social media campaign, arranged a co-ordinated walkout from their classes at about 1 p.m. The Ford government seems to be implying that teachers’ federations were somehow involved in organizing this walkout. I wish to set the record straight.

As a local leader, I was made aware of the walkout on March 25 by one of my members, who read about it on Facebook and wanted to know what they should do if their students walked out. My immediate response was to contact the Peel District School Board and ask them whether they were aware of the walkout — and if they had a plan for how to deal with it. Through consultation with the PDSB senior administration and OSSTF, a protocol was developed to try to ensure the safety of students in the event that there was a walkout.

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