As the school year has ended, here's a summary of what we did this year!
January 2022: OCDSB Mark Freeze Petition - Led by Austin W.
Due to the fifth wave of COVID-19, other boards had implemented a mark freeze for a semester, as students were being affected academically by the constant to and fro from online learning. As such, the RSU petitioned for a mark freeze at the OCDSB. We reached out to students at every school in the Board to spread the word and attempted to contact as many media outlets as possible, allowing members such as Austin Wang & Miriam Abdalla to speak on CBC & CFRA. We accrued 4500+ signatures from the entirety of the OCDSB, including hundreds of parents and even a dozen teachers! Despite this, the Board elected to reject the demands of the petition after stalling until the semester had more or less ended. Regardless, it showed how students can achieve great feats by working together!
April, May 2022: Student Senate Representation for OCDSB Alternate Schools - Led by Austin W.
The Rideau Students’ Union fought to bring Student Senate representation to the OCDSB’s Alternate Secondary School Program, launching an awareness campaign over social media and holding a rally outside one of the Alternate Program sites. Ultimately, our efforts prevailed, with 4 out of 5 Alternate program sites electing Student Senators by the end of the 2022 School Year.
Late 2021-Early 2022: The Endometriosis Project - Led by Samantha K.
The endometriosis project was started to raise awareness about the medical condition which is more prevalent than it may seem. We created several posts to raise awareness on:
- what the condition is
- symptoms and causes
- potential treatments
- correlation to menstrual stigma
- effects on employment and marginalized communities.
We also collaborated with EndoAct Canada to continue spreading information as well as with Mariem Samour to create a post on pelvic floor physiotherapy.
The Equal Access Initiative
The EAI, a coalition of organizations advocating for mental health reform, created a White Paper outlining the struggles those in school and the workforce were facing with current mental health-related procedures. They held events nationally in order to encourage governments to take up multilateral commitments to action - like advocating for specific policies to overcome the crisis. On April 2nd, members of the RSU joined Sharanya Sivasathiyanathan at Parliament Hill to rally for improved mental healthcare in Canada. Speeches from members in the RSU and our overall support in numbers helped ensure the demands listed in the White Paper (from improved accessibility, to the eradication of discrimination) were heard by provincial and federal legislatures.
June 24th, 2022: RSU Picnic
The Rideau Student's Union held a potluck at Mooney's Bay, on top of the hill. Multiple OCDSB Board trustee candidates also showed up, such as Keith de Silvia-Legault, Steven Warren, and Jessie Lee-Wallace.
The picnic was a resounding success, with plenty of food and ~40 people showing up. It can be safely said that everyone who attended had a great time :)
June 27th, 2022: OPSB - Led by Will C.
Will Cooper, one of the RSU's BoDs, spoke at an OPSB meeting. He discussed police presence in schools, specifically about the dress code 'blitz' at Béatrice-Desloges École Catholique Secondaire. Police have no role in schools, which are meant to be a place of learning. Rather, they have a history of targeting marginalized groups - which was why the SRO program was scrapped in the first place.
Ongoing - Board of Trustees
As municipal elections open up, school trustees are also being elected. The RSU is vetting and endorsing progressive trustees to form a board that we believe will strive for positive change for students.
Board of Trustees