“School should be a second home to students – not a place where boilers break down, ceilings fall in and toilets break”

From Spencer Higdon-McGreal, Grade 12 TDSB Student at Ursula Franklin: 

In school there are many things students learn to adapt to: peer pressure, the stress of looming deadlines, the anticipation of summer break and, trying to stay focused while your school is crumbling around you. For many students in the Toronto District School Board, decay and subsequent lack of working mechanics, electronics, structure is known all too well. As a grade 12 student, I have been in three different schools over a span of 14 years: Garden Ave. P.S. for JK-Grade 6, Fern Ave. P.S. for Grade 7-8 and Ursula Franklin Academy for Grades 9-12. I’ve seen first-hand how desperately our schools need repairs.

For the past four years at my high school I cannot remember a winter when our boiler didn’t break at least once, sometimes for multiple days, leaving students freezing and unable to focus. Now this is a big enough problem on its own, but when I add the fact that this happened almost every winter over my 14 years at school it become inexcusable! I remember a couple of years ago sitting in a classroom with every student and the teacher, wearing their outdoor winter clothing. No one was able to focus during the whole class – we certainly struggled to take notes while wearing gloves!

School should be a second home to students, not a place where boilers break down, ceilings fall in, and toilets break! Today’s students are tomorrow’s future leaders and contributors, and they need and deserve the best education they can get. With the enormous amount of problems in our schools, students aren’t given the best. The Ontario government can do better, and must do better.