Toronto high school students hold pro-Palestinian rallies

Students at some Toronto schools ditched class Thursday to show solidarity with Palestinian civilians. As Tina Yazdani reports, some Jewish community members say their chants and slogans could be considered harmful.

A loud but peaceful demonstration by students was held at a Scarborough high school on Thursday, as The Muslim Students Association organized a noon-hour pro-Palestinian rally at Cedarbrae Collegiate Institute.

“It’s not free Palestine anymore, it’s save Palestine,” one participant said on Thursday.

Students at seven schools from Scarborough to Etobicoke participated in the walkouts. They included Woburn Collegiate Institute, David and Mary Thomson Collegiate Institute, Agincourt Collegiate Institute, R.H. King Academy, Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute, Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate Institute and Etobicoke Collegiate Institute.

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) issued a lengthy statement on the rallies, saying school officials were made aware of the afternoon demonstrations.

“The TDSB is not involved in organizing these walkouts, nor are we in a position to permit them or stop them from occurring,” wrote TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird.

“While we recognize that students want to express themselves individually and collectively, it is critical that they do so in constructive, respectful and responsible ways. Any participating students are being advised to hold any walkouts/protests off school property.”

Noah Shack of the Jewish Federations of Canada some members of the Jewish community say some of the slogans being chanted are considered hateful.

“To our ears, that’s a call for genocide. For the destruction of Israel and the removal of its people,” Shack said. “It’s very easy to feel disheartened.”

Bird added that during walkouts, TDSB school administration and staff, along with Toronto police officers, would be outside to support the safety of all involved.

“Any students who are not in attendance will be marked absent. We are committed to providing a safe, inclusive, and supportive learning environment,” Bird continued.

“We recognize that students who are not participating in the walkout may be impacted and staff will be supporting and checking in with these students and providing additional support as needed.”

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today