First of all, let's give a round of applause to all the kids who walked out today, and to the ones who chose not to. Way to show that just because most of us are minors does NOT mean that we don't care enough to use our right to free speech.
As a proud Bethel Junior High Bulldog, let me give you the rundown of what happened out here in Spanaway.
There's been texts and chain letters about wearing black on May 1 and walking out of class. The Board and our superintendent told us that they were taking our teachers, and the students stepped up to the plate. I've heard other schools had a bit of a problem with the walkout, but BHS and BJH accommodated us wonderfully. They freely allowed us to leave class to go to Art Crate field to show our support. And the bleachers were packed. They even allowed our own drum line to go out and play while the students in the crowds chanted support with the slogan "SAVE OUR TEACHERS!". And, lo and behold, we managed to draw a school board representative out to Art Crate to answer our questions.
Of course, the rep (Joy Cook) answered the same questions the same way they have the entire time. They talked about how the Art Crate turf fund and the Skills Center fund was given to them by the state and can't use it for any other reason BUT the turf and Skills Center. Okay. Sure. The word I heard over and over was state. The state said this, the state said that. What I heard was "It's the state's fault. Go protest them and leave us alone." But Tacoma District hasn't cut teachers yet, and are using their reserve fund. Why can't we?
Why? Because Superintendent Tom says it's our rainy day fund. And, very like normal Washington weather, it sure seems like it's pounding down rain. I've also heard that this magical fund is in case a boiler blows up. What's next? Emergency alien abduction funds?
But off of bashing Mr. Seigel, the proud owner of Komo 4's Schrammie award, it seems like some of our students are making silly mistakes, as well.
All throughout the rest of the day after the walkout (which ended at 9:05 for BJH, but BHS stayed longer), I heard that students were going to leave again during the rest of the day to show support.
I couldn't quite grasp the concept of this. Students wanted to leave class to support teachers by not letting them teach. Brilliant plan. I mean, it's not like our teachers specifically said that they'd prefer that we showed our support by staying in class. So, most students wizened up (or scared out of going by the threat of suspension) because only 7 students left.
Anyways, this stubborn teen will end this story on a happy note.
I saw more than one teacher crying in happiness at the support students gave them. Today, for the first time, I was ashamed to be enrolled of a district that doesn't find cuts teachers enough of an emergency for the emergency fund. But I was proud to be one of many in a crowd of students, waving hand-made SAVE OUR TEACHERS sign while we backed the teachers who have helped us find who we are, and educated us on how to form opinions and that we have the right to protest, and we used it to help them, too. Today is one day that we can't ask, "When will we use this in real life?"
If you have a thought you'd like to share, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop a comment.