With injustices happening all around the world, the Social Justice Program at Dr. Gladys McKelvie Egbert School allowed grade nine students to take a stance and drive change in their communities on issues such as peer pressure, alcohol use, bullying, and body image. The program gives students the opportunity to brainstorm, select, investigate, document and present issues that affect their school and community.
Teacher Brooke Reilley told us: “Students not only get to explore their learning environment, but get to go beyond themselves in order to address, engage and create a plan for social change”. Students answered the question, ‘What is a social justice issue and how do you categorize it?’ They presented their outcomes at the 2011 Safe Schools Learning Conference.
To showcase the issues, the students made a Tree as an art project posted to the wall of their classroom to remind them and other students in their school, of the issues they face. “The roots are symbolic for the cause (the root) of the issues, while the tree’s trunk is what you see of the issues. The apples are the fruit of our labour and the leaves are our current and future growth,” explained student Deanna. “We can make a better community.”