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More Chris Christie Chaos; Biggest Student Walkout in Newark History

 

"Look, If Governor Christie can disrupt traffic to make a political point, well, so can we."
                                                         - Walkout participant

 

"The schools in Newark are in chaos."
                                                         - Mayor Ras Baraka

It is refreshing to the soul to see thousands of students put their bodies on the line to defend their schools and their city against the disrespect and disruption of Chris Christie's errand girl Cami Anderson - and her plan to disrupt, destabilize and ultimately open their schools to tycoonery.

It's inspiring, what happened today. These students are so damn young. And yet, they know the score.  They know the difference between sweet talk and bullshit, between promises and threats. They don't have all the answers but they know what kind of city they want. Their leaders are articulate and fierce, they're not put off easily by intimidation - and intimidation has been tried on them many times, as have efforts to divide them. And still they speak of taking responsibility for one another:

 

We have a duty to fight! We have a duty to win! We must love and protect one another!
                                                         - 2,000 students chanting

All of New Jersey should simply have their backs.

Below the fold, video - via NJ Communities United - of students at and on the way to City Hall, and at the convergence of major roads including NJ Turnpike. Also, full statement of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.
Statement of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka:

 

"Today's protests signify an important fact: our Newark Public School students understand that they are not receiving the education they deserve from the Newark Public School system. That is why they are exercising their First Amendment rights today to protest this situation, demanding that they and the greater community of Newark - residents, parents, teachers, and the administration - be heard and respected by the School District and its superintendent, Cami Anderson."

"The district is in chaos. Schools are being denied supports they are entitled under the state's No Child Left Behind Waiver. Over the last four years some high schools have a new principal every year, some multiple principals in the same year. Newark has placed special education students in schools that do not have the services specified in their individualized education plans. There is a $35 million dollar budget deficit at the end this academic year and a projected $35 million dollar budget gap for 2015-2016 academic year. As both Newark's Chief executive and a 22-year educator in the Newark Public Schools, I am appalled at this situation."

Despite early-day rumors - untrue - that participating students would be locked in or suspended, 2,000 or more high school students poured out of school today in massive protest. In fact, despite  the hostile relationship Christie-appointed Superintendent Cami Anderson has developed with her students, support for public education and for the rights of students to exercise civil disobedience has broad support from parents, community organizations and the mayor himself. And the Newark Board of Education has passed a resolution protecting students from retaliation from the administration for walking out; a unanimous vote Anderson was forced to agree to. Before the walkout, students at several schools were reporting what supporting organization NJ Communities United calls intimidation tactics, including threatening letters and calls to both parents and district teachers.

Efforts by the administration to intimidate students or encourage parents to stop them have largely and very publicly failed, each time should have been more humiliating to both Cami and her master, Gov. Christie - if either cared about the opinions of parents, students, teachers, other electeds, or the city residents. The students - and the Newark Student Union student leadership - are strengthened by  NJ Communities United their outrage at  the state-imposed school destruction matched by shared by Mayor Baraka, an educator by profession.

Among schools whose students walked out today: Barringer, Central, East Side, Malcolm X Shabazz, Technology, Arts, Science Park, Weequahic, West Side and University schools.

 

Students shut down entrance to NJ Turnpike

 

We have a duty to fight! We have a duty to win! We must love and protect one another! #OurNewark

Posted by NJ Communities United on Friday, May 22, 2015

 

Science, Weequahic and University High Schools arrive at City Hall

 

Science, Weequahic and University High just arrived at City Hall! #OurNewark

Posted by NJ Communities United on Friday, May 22, 2015

 

Mic check at City Hall

 

 

Student mic check at City Hall!!! #OurNewark

Posted by NJ Communities United on Friday, May 22, 2015

 

Students prepare to take McCarter Highway

 

Newark students are now making their way to McCarter Highway with a plan to send a loud and clear message to Governor Chris Christie!!! #OurNewark

Posted by NJ Communities United on Friday, May 22, 2015

NJ Communities United on Facebook (Thank you for video)
Follow Newark Student Union on Twitter: @NewarkStudents.

Go to NJ State Page
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