Student Protests Of Teacher Layoffs And Limited Rights Yield Harsh Punishments
More protests against school budget cuts and limitations on teachers' rights are taking place across the country -- except at these rallies, attendants have backpacks and braces.
High school students nationwide are standing up for their teachers by protesting or walking out of class. And some schools are threatening hardcore punishments.
After teachers in Katy, Texas were pulled out of class last week to be told they'd been laid off, students decided to protest. They took to the streets with signs that read "Save our Teachers" and "Honk for Teachers," KUOH reports.
Morton Ranch High School in Katy was put on lockdown on the second day of protests Friday morning. The students who were protesting were told to either return to class or leave the campus entirely, according to the Houston Chronicle.
"They're just the greatest teachers, and they're just getting fired. And it's not right. It's not right," one Morton Ranch student said.
Katy District spokesman Steve Sanford said the school took precautions after things got chaotic.
"Basically the situation got out of hand," Stanford said. "In order to keep order, the kids were kept inside."
District officials originally said they wouldn't punish students for walking out, calling it a "learning process," according to KHOU. But starting Monday, administrators attempted to put a halt to protests by telling students they'd receive tickets for school disruption if the walkouts continued.
And it's not just happening in Texas. In Aurora, Colo., 100 students staged a walkout earlier this month to protest layoffs.
One mother who supports her daughter walking out of class told the Denver Channel that a school clerk said to her:
"Ma'am, your daughter loses her civil liberties when (she) walks into Hinkley High School."
Aurora school officials had originally told students they could be suspended and barred from prom for participating in demonstrations, but then they retracted the statement after learning teachers may have urged the kids to demonstrate. But students were still upset.
"We shouldn't be treated wrong for what we think is right," said junior Mayra Miramontes.
In Wisconsin, LaCrosse schools planned a walkout over union rights last month at three high schools. But the protest didn't pan out after school officials told students they could receive detention or be banned from activities, the LaCrosse Tribune reports.
While he realized "the kids are just trying to show support," Principal Tom Barth said the school already had tolerated one walkout, according to the Tribune.
LaCrosse students chose to cheer teachers after school as they left instead.