On Wednesday October 8th, hundreds of Philadelphia high school students from at least two high schools walked out of classes in protest of a recent cancellation of labor agreements with the teachers’ union.
The cancellation occurred early Monday morning in a rushed 17-minute meeting when the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, a state agency that has taken the place of a school board for nearly 14 years due to budget cuts, voted to cancel a contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers which administered medical benefits at not cost.
While district officials claim the move was made to save money this school year, the Federation of Teachers described the actions as an attempt to dismantle their union, veiled by the benefit of saving money.
Philadelphia high school students joined the action on Wednesday, skipping class to take to the streets in protest, mobilizing around the hastag #StudentsForTeachers on social media websites.
According to CBS Philly, a high school student known as ‘Cy’ said, “They say it’s for us. They say, ‘oh we’re doing it for the students. We’re taking the teachers’ money and we’re giving it back to the schools so the students can get books and pencils and paper…we don’t want those things if we don’t have good teachers.”
This is the second student protest during the fall season. In late September, high school students in Denver protested proposed changes to their high school history curriculum, standing up to the school board. The students in Denver used similar tactics, protesting on the streets and organizing through social media.
It appears that there may be a new trend amongst motivated high school students, using social media to organize and rally behind issues they care about. Perhaps this might lead to more student engagement in the academic process, which would likely provide benefits for all those involved.
What do you think about the recent trend of high school student protests?