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College Notebook: BPS Students Stage Walkout

By Abigail Gardener

Section: News

March 11, 2016

Hundreds of students in the Boston Public School system (BPS) walked out of their classes at 11:30 am on Monday in a student-organized protest of proposed district-wide budget cuts.

The Boston Public School system is facing an up to $50 million deficit this fiscal year. According to a boston.com article, this is due to rising expenses and a decline in federal and state aid. As a result, BPS is looking to make cutbacks across the school system. For many students, this would mean facing the the possibility of losing extracurricular activities, gym classes, librarians, language classes and music and arts classes next year. Teachers could lose their jobs as well.

Jailyn Lopez, a sophomore at Snowden International High School, helped organize the walkout. A letter she posted on Twitter addressed to “all BPS students” informed students of the walkout and encouraged them to stand up and leave whatever class they are in at the appointed time, even if teachers tried to stop them.

The letter stated that students should care about and join the walkout because “The education you are going to be provided with would be an education which would make it difficult and maybe even impossible, to get into the college of your dreams.” The letter ended with the statement “Let’s stand up for our future, if we don’t then no one will,” with the hashtag #bpswalkout.

After leaving school, students walked through downtown Boston toward Boston Common, eventually making their way toward the State House to rally against the budget cuts. City Councilor Tito Jackson supported the students and walked with them.

He said to boston.com, “I’m so encouraged by the massive turnout and voices of our young people…They should demand that they have enough teachers who will encourage them to stay in their classrooms. They shouldn’t lose their JV programs, which keep some kids involved and are a lifeline for them. And they shouldn’t lose funding to charter schools.”

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