"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, May 15, 2009

39 Teachers Hauled Off to Jail by L. A. Police: Students Walk Out in Support

From KTLA in Los Angeles:
Police arrested dozens of people, including teacher's union president A.J. Duffy, during a protest rally in downtown Los Angeles.

The protesters. most of them teachers, were part of a planned sit-in at the district headquarters.

"We're being arrested to send a message to the district and the city that they have the money ... parents are going to be upset when they go to school next year and classrooms are 50 and 60 kids," said A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, as he was being led away by police.

The protesters were arrested for blocking a public street, said Los Angeles Police Department Officer April Harding.

Officers searched the protesters, handcuffed them and loaded them onto an LAPD bus for processing.

LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines said earlier he was pleased the union had agreed to abide by the court order and call off the one-day strike.

"We are united in our goal to educate our students," he said. "We have to start working together. A climate of us-versus-them hurts everyone, especially our students. I am committed to reaching out and personally working with Mr. Duffy to resolve any issues."

Another rally is expected outside the district's headquarters after school is dismissed this afternoon.

About 700 more teachers than usual called in sick today in the Los Angeles Unified School District. On a normal Friday in May, about 2,300 of the district's 34,000 teachers would be out of class.

The teachers' union Thursday requested hundreds of substitutes -- that it planned to pay for -- to allow selected teachers to leave class to participate in acts of civil disobedience, some of which were intended to lead to arrests.

Students have also joined the fray, walking out of class at several high schools and holding sit-ins in support of teachers.

About 500 students at Garfield High School in East L.A. walked out of campus this morning and sat in the central yard. Later, the students were moved to the bleachers, and a sound system was provided by the school so students could discuss why they didn't want teachers laid off.

The group dispersed after a break and about 150 returned to the bleachers afterward.

At Jordan High School in South L.A., some 200 students gathered in the quad to show their solidarity with teachers and another 200 at Maywood Academy in Maywood walked out of class.

Shortly after the nutrition bell rang at 11 a.m. at Franklin High School in Highland Park, hundreds of students chose not to return to their classrooms.

The school board voted last month to authorize thousands of layoffs, including teachers, to close an estimated $600 million budget deficit. The exact number of potential layoffs has been gradually lowering as district officials crunch numbers and offer early retirement packages to teachers and other employees.

From the UTLA website:
After school today, all UTLA members, parents and the community are urged to join us as we converge on LAUSD headquarters to show support for our detained colleagues. Be there right after school!.

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