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Image: Dasser Kamran/Fulcrum
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Right now, I am the only young candidate in the OCDSB. We need a young candidate in every zone, and in every board.

Dear Editor,

On October 24, 2022, there will be a municipal election. At the bottom of the ballot you vote for a school trustee for one of Ottawa’s four school boards. A school board trustee votes on matters regarding their respective school board. Only one per cent of school board trustees in Ontario are under the age of 29. 78 per cent are over the age of 50. Students in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) have unionized, calling themselves the Rideau Student Union, which is completely unheard of. Students in our public system are asking for change, and these students (who do more work than some trustees,) are either too young to run or are leaving for university in the fall. As young people who live in this city, we have an obligation to help these students. 

I am running for school trustee in the OCDSB in Zone 6. I’m 21, turning 22 soon, and I am doing it because I am tired of the fact that our education system is severely lacking. I’m tired of a system that leaves kids behind. The idea that there is a child at the back of a class right now being completely let down by their school, be it because of a learning disability, mental illness, neurodivergence or disability. I am doing this because no child should feel like nobody is looking out for them, no child should feel like school isn’t for them. Due to learning disabilities and simply not being probably catered to, I fully believed I was an idiot. It wasn’t  until tenth-grade, until I started having one on one meetings with tutors, that I realized I simply was not receiving an education catered to someone who had a mind like mine. I’m running because if I don’t do this now, I’ll be letting that same thing happen to my future kids. Right now, I am the only young candidate in the OCDSB. We need a young candidate in every zone, and in every board.

“But, I didn’t go to public school here, so I do not think I would probably represent them.”

Anyone who has been within any public education system in the past decade knows how it is to be a student in the modern era, and therefore has a better understanding of the flaws of our education system than someone who has not been in school for decades. Since our school boards are dominated with people who hold obsolete opinions on education, our public education has barely changed in all of this time. Students are not being listened to, but electing young trustees will allow for students’ voices to actually be heard, as students deserve to be stakeholders in their education.

This is a plea for you to run for School Trustee in any four of the boards in Ottawa, be it the English public, English Catholic, French public or French Catholic. We need young people, no matter your political beliefs. We need young people on school boards desperately. If you’ve read this until the very end, look into running. Reach out to me personally, reach out to the Rideau Student Union, reach out to incumbent trustees who aren’t running for re-election. Reach out to school councils, do the research, and run. We need you desperately, even if you do not think you will win, just throwing your name in the race shows everyone that young candidates are as serious as older candidates. You have until August 19 to submit your papers, I eagerly await for you to do so.