Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Statewide Walkout In New Jersey High Schools

In what may be the first actions taken in protest of budget cuts to New Jersey's public schools, thousands of students walked out of their classrooms today. The walkouts are a response to cuts of $820 million in school aid by the administration of Republican governor Chris Christie.

Old Tappan High School graduate Michelle Lauto organized the walkout on the Protest NJ Education Cuts-State Wide School Walk Out on Facebook. As of this writing, there were more than 18,000 "confirmed guests", and another 15,000 responded that they "may be attending" the day's walkout.

It was a statewide event; WCBS TV in New York has three video stories plus a a detailed account of the walkouts in Englewood, North Bergen, and Newark.

Below, video from a protest in Atlantic County

And here, a home video from the walkout in Willingboro.

In a video report from WCBS's John Slattery, Governor Christie took no questions about the walkouts while making an appearance in Newark today. When reporters pursued him to get a statement, the reporters found themselves locked in a room while Christie was scurried away by his staffers.

According to the FACEBOOK page, some students found exits blocked by teachers or principals, and some participants are facing detention or suspension. Some walkouts were total busts, others were effective beyond belief.

But the bottom line seems to be this is the first counter punch thrown at the Christie administration. And it came from the kids, New Jersey's high schoolers. Too often we pigeon hole teenagers as being apathetic and irresponsible. But this is a case where they saw the power of civil disobedience. And they also learned that in doing so there are consequences- and harsh words and condemnations by some- for their actions.

1 comment:

Sue said...

I'm just sick to my stomach about what our new gov. is doing. Our property taxes will soar in my township, it's pathetic. The people wanted change and they sure got it! Suckers...

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