Occupy Your High School — Students plan Wednesday walkout at Garfield HS — UPDATE: 100s march

(Images: CHS)

UPDATE 1:15p: Around 500 students walked out of Garfield High School Wednesday afternoon in a spirited protest against ongoing cuts to educations budgets. With flyers complete with “walkout guidelines” — DO: Talk to the media, DO: Be informed, DON’T: Get violent — the teens marched down 23rd before heading up E Jefferson toward City Hall.


Here’s the flyer (clearly smuggled out via pocket!):

Thursday night, Seattle Public Schools will hold the third of three public meetings on “capacity planning” for the district at Washington Middle School.

The 23rd/Alder Occupy House cheers in support (Images: CHS)

ORIGINAL REPORT: Students at Garfield High School — the public high school serving many of Capitol Hill’s teens — are planning a midday protest Wednesday to bring attention to continued education budget cuts.

Here is a message about the planned walkout posted to the Occupy Your High School Facebook group:

We are Garfield High School students, speaking on behalf of and with Seattle Public Schools students tired of the constant cuts to our education. We are the people who have been affected most by these cuts, and we are showing that we care. For too long, this state’s budget has been balanced on the backs of its students. Apparently, our representatives in Olympia have forgotten that the constitution says that funding education is this state’s paramount duty. This is a student voice reminding our legislature of that fact. And also of this one: We are this country’s future. We will vote. And we will hold them accountable.

We will walk out of Garfield High School on Wednesday the 30th of November at 12:30 PM to march to City Hall and tell the world that we are fed up with the lack of funding for education.

We have two primary goals we hope to accomplish:

We want to stop the constant cuts to education that have hurt our school and other schools in the state.. We want to insert a student voice into the political discourse in issues regarding education.

Following are our grievances, things that have already happened as a result of past cuts:. Students who want full schedules have been denied them due to a lack of teachers. Many seniors were denied a science class due to a complete lack of state science funding.. Academic courses, such as math classes, have been repeatedly cut from our school.. The removal of summer school and night school has removed resources that allowed many students to graduate on time, therefore effectively increasing the amount the state must spend on those students.

Join the movement (Walk Out), spread the word, get active.

 

Our sister site Central District News has been reporting on the Occupy Seattle takeover of an empty home at 23rd and Alder across from the school. Garfield principal Ted Howard sent the following email to parents about Occupy’s presence:

Garfield high school wanted to make you aware of a nationwide group – Occupy Seattle that is currently residing close to the school campus. They are living in an abandoned building that is on 23rd Avenue. The building is in the 300 block just south of 313 23rd Avenue. Occupy Seattle recently tried to hand out pamphlets and recruit members on the high school campus. Security and police asked the group to leave. Garfield high school is working with the Seattle Police Department to make sure that the group is not allowed to come on campus and promote their ideas. We wanted families to be aware of the group’s presence close to the school campus. 

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44 thoughts on “Occupy Your High School — Students plan Wednesday walkout at Garfield HS — UPDATE: 100s march

  1. Students are the future, after all. Remember Garfield protesting Westboro?

    And I read on the PI (or was it the Times) that there haven’t been any disruptions and the principal is not naving trouble with Occcupy right now. Sounds a-okay in the CD now.

  2. who cares if they miss a class. They are standing up for a good cause, and they have my support as a Parent of a GHS student.

    The whole point is to miss class, so Olympia can take notice.

    Please try and think out of the box for once.

  3. And when was missing school as a kid about anything other than missing school? They may have found a “good” excuse for it, but I doubt these kids are thinking about anything other than a way to get out of class.

  4. “Please try and think out of the box for once.”

    Maybe thinking outside the box would mean the students refuse to leave school (or show up on the first day of winter break) and demand to be educated. Maybe they should organize a guest lecture to be held on a saturday on the football field. That would be thinking outside the box. Skipping school for a half day to protest education cuts is definitely “within” the box of old tricks.

    One of the potential education cuts is to reduce the school year by a small fraction and send teachers and administrators home early, unpaid. For students to leave school mid-day, leaving a fully staffed school behind, indicates that they agree that shortening the school year by a day or two has no effect on education and is an appropriate cut. To me, they come off as whiny kids looking for an afternoon of hanging out with their friends.

  5. They did this in my home town back in Texas and it ended with a bunch of students getting arrested for truancy.

    But I admire their convictions. Hopefully it will end better for these students.

  6. @1. That is a really great thing to be teaching students. They don’t have to follow rules. Isn’t that what this whole occupy crap is about…To do as we please, if it pleases US? It’s ok to teach them that they don’t have to attend school if they think they have a good reason? It’s ok to teach them that being truant is ok? It’s ok to teach them that leaving a class of learning, because they deserve to learn, isn’t the most ridiculous theory on the planet? It’s ok to teach them that they don’t have to follow rules (or laws)?
    Who cares if they miss a class? I certainly care if my son misses a class. He can’t learn if he isn’t in class. It’s ok to miss class so Olympia can take notice? pffftthhh! Give me a break. I would admire these students a lot more if they actually put their minds to a solution and were taught the process of legislation and how it works, instead of attempting the bullying techniques of OWS and Unions. And by the way “Please try and think out of the box for once. ” You have no idea what my other thoughts are on anything other than this article, so don’t go assuming you do.

  7. The kids doing the walk out today have stated emphatically on their walk out event invitation that they are not part of OWS or Occupy Seattle. They are their own movement, making their own statement about very specific issues. Go Bulldogs!

  8. While enjoying a tv program in my 3rd floor apartment at 20th and Jefferson, I was pulled to the window by the sound of a cheering crowd. I saw a long, large group of students, accompanied by SPD on bikes and patrol cars. When I got outside to ask the SPD what it was all about, he said the students had walked out and were headed downtown.

  9. I’m proud of my son for demanding an end to cuts which leave him short of graduation requirements despite a stellar GPA. Many parents support this act of civil disobedience, and are proud that our students are asserting their own concerns seperate from the agenda of other groups. Go bulldogs!

  10. Becky, the principal may very well give them detention or other punishment for truancy. GHS is pretty strict about detention for being 1 minute late, etc. These are smart kids, many are AP students. They know what they’re risking. How about – instead of being a crabapple – supporting their desires to have little things like, enough math classes offered to actually graduate on time rather than going to community college at night because GHS programs have been so badly cut?

  11. @cd neighbor. I admittedly am a crab apple at this point. I am angry. I am sick of all this entitlement mentality and the whining. Teaching our kids we deserve and have a right to everything is defeating, individually, and as a nation. I am not only angry about the rampant entitelment mentality, I am also very angry about the money in politics. I am angry that our state funds “lofts for artists” and then threatens to reduce jobs in education and law enforcement. The state must meet its legal requirements in education. If the state has a graduation requirement of a certain number of math credits and do not provide the classes to meet those requirements, they aren’t abiding by the laws that are currently in place. It is criminal. We as adults need to be our childrens advocates. THEY should be in class and WE should be fighting the battle. We should be fighting the battle in the courts and people need to be made accountable. Our kids should be in class learning not fighting the battle that WE as their parents should be fighting. I would really like to see the record on the credit requirements and the availability to obtain those credits within the public school system. If what you say about this is accurate it is criminal.

  12. Who’s to say these students didn’t do homework/reading/assignments ahead of time before the walkout? Like it or not, this will make the news and will draw increased attention to the issue of cuts and education. If even one of these students gets on the news and gives the details about what specifically they feel is wrong or deficient about the present system, then the walkout was by all means a success.

    Organizing guest lectures on the football field is a much less news-worthy story. Not only is it less news-worthy its less visible. Students marching down a street en masse in the middle of the day is highly visible and attention getting.

  13. Not every lesson these kids will learn in their four short years of high school will be found in the classroom. That’s why I fully support my son who is taking part.

  14. There are a million things wrong with what some people are commenting here.
    1. They won’t get arrested for truancy for missing one class. Obviously some of you are lacking basic knowledge of what the word truancy means.
    2. To whoever thinks these kids should stay in class rather than standing up for something: Yes, i agree that a lot of these kids just wanted a reason to get out of class. But it’s obvious that they know they’re being affected by these cuts and trust me, if they just wanted a reason to get out of class, they would skip it instead of going through the hassle of marching and chanting for miles or for however long they walked.

    I’m shocked that some of you parents think it’s more important to go to 6th period on a Wednesday rather than seeing your kids standing up for something that’s affecting them. In my opinion, taking part in something like this will teach you a lot more than than you could ever learn in high school. And when it bubbles down to it, yes, an education is important, but these are the kinds of things that build your character and show you what really matters in life.

  15. we are the future of america…and it is our constitutional right to get education….because of the budget cuts it is getting difficult for us…..please fund the future of america.

  16. @becky Entitlement? All they want is a good education. I’d say that’s a reasonable thing to feel entitled too. They’re taking initiative in their own education. They may be missing a half day of school to do it, but it’s for a good cause.

  17. 1 – It did fall within the excused absence category. The school announced last night that it would excuse participants who followed the normal absence procedure (a signed note from a parent)
    2 – Schools desperately try to encourage student-initiated civic involvement. That’s exactly what this was.
    3 – WE ARE NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT (as pointed out by Grant, our ASB president and one of the organizers of the event, in another comment).

  18. I’ll be staying after school for a few days to make up the test I missed. Also, we tried to stay on the sidewalk and obey traffic signals as much as possible, so as to not disrupt traffic.

  19. look i am one of the students who participated in this rally and look, you honestly have no idea what you’re talking about. we were perfectly aware of what we were doing and we knew our reasons for doing it, we are tired of cuts being made to our curriculum that will affect our futures and we wanted a voice. if we followed normal channels like creating a petition and sending it to olympia then we would have been ignored and never have gotten our point across. the point of this protest was to gain publicity for the cause. right now many students are only able to attend 5 of the 6 periods that they are supposed to go to because of overfilled classes. how is that any different from forced truency by the school district? Some proposed cuts intend to force all highschool students in washington to get rid of our 6th periods and another proposal wants to cut school on fridays all together. Also we all were there to march for the cause, if we had been doing this just to skip we wouldnt have marched to city hall, we would have simply left. Something many of you people looking in at this protest need to understand is we are not simply children. We are a distinct group of people with our own individual views and opinions, the opinions that we express are not those of our parents or other adults in our lives as many people like to believe, our opinions are ours alone and it is time more people started to accept and respect that.

  20. I am actually one of the students that marched from Garfield High School all the way to City Hall downtown and if we wanted to just have a reason to get out of class , we all could have just left school and not participated. For us it wasnt just about getting out of class but thats what brought attention to us in the first place, we are a group(a rather large one) that wants to make a difference , we are tired of seeing schools not only in the Seattle School District but in all of Washington state suffer because of the lack of funding. Our principal and administrative officers at our school were notified and stood behind us 100%. Also if truency was the problem we all would have been arrested by the police that escorted us the WHOLE way down and back up to the school from city hall. We just ask for support to help make a difference. “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders”.-Washington State Constitution

  21. Becky look, i am one of the students who participated in this rally and look, you honestly have no idea what you’re talking about. We were perfectly aware of what we were doing and we knew our reasons for doing it, we are tired of cuts being made to our curriculum that will affect our futures and we wanted a voice. If we followed normal channels like creating a petition and sending it to olympia then we would have been ignored and never have gotten our point across. The point of this protest was to gain publicity for the cause. right now many students are only able to attend 5 of the 6 periods that they are supposed to go to because of overfilled classes. How is that any different from forced truency by the school district? Some proposed cuts intend to force all highschool students in washington to get rid of our 6th periods and another proposal wants to cut school on fridays all together. Also we all were there to march for the cause, if we had been doing this just to skip we wouldnt have marched to city hall, we would have simply left. Something many of you people looking in at this protest need to understand is we are not simply children. We are a distinct group of people with our own individual views and opinions, the opinions that we express are not those of our parents or other adults in our lives as many people like to believe, our opinions are ours alone and it is time more people started to accept and respect that.

  22. This is only the first event. Due to mainly student request the next protest will probably be after school. We’re an organized group with specific points outlined above. I find it disappointing that adults always complain about teenagers not taking action but when they do, they are belittled. Just saying.

  23. I am an AP student and I missed my math class today to walk out with my fellow students. I NEVER skip class, my attendance record is spotless, but I changed that because I thought this was a good cause (and still do). Many of the people I walked with felt the same way. (You should see our Facebook page. We are informed and we care!) Yesterday I told my math teacher what I’d be doing and I did the classwork and homework I would have done in class last night. What’s more, this teacher and many others supported what we did today.

    It’s true that today and yesterday we complained. We shouted our grievances at town hall and discussed them in the hallways of Garfield. Dissenters, would you prefer I just complained and did nothing? What will that accomplish? I know there are a lot of parents involved in the fight, but why can’t students be involved as well. It is OUR education, isn’t it? Shouldn’t we be advocates for our education?
    I agree there were many flaws with this walk out. It was planned YESTERDAY. Yes, it may have been better to protest on our own time, but what time is better than the middle of the day? And we can’t wait until an official half day, because the budget meetings are happening NOW. If you think about it, we were fantastically successful for having planned it yesterday. The students were orderly and respectful. We were even allowed to walk through city hall. I am very impressed with the people who organized the effort and also with the behavior of our students.

    And you know what Becky, I am angry too! I am angry with the politics and I also can’t believe you think we should just let our parents do things for us. Many of us are 17 or 18 years old, we should be encouraged to act for ourselves and not be dependent on our parents to do things for us. I am going to college next year, should I have my parent call the principal when I don’t like how the classes are distributed, or something along those lines, or should I go to the academic office and talk to them myself? Furthermore, I am not a whiny student and I am not arrogant with entitlement. I am asking for reasonable things. It’s ridiculous that many of my friends (seniors) can’t take a science class this year. It’s ridiculous that I have to pay $200 to take health online in order to have a full schedule of classes for graduation requirements and to get into college.

    I think I’ll take detention for something this important. And I do not take the idea of missing school lightly. After the breast cancer march in Seattle earlier this year, I was scolded by a teacher for being afraid to miss school to support breast cancer awareness. The march today was definitely different, but I think she would agree I should support what I believe in, even if it is during school.

    I know there were some flaws with the movement today, and some things I don’t agree with. But I would not change anything we did today, because it was much better than doing nothing.

  24. GREAT job, today students! Fantastic. You were amazingly well organized, did a great job of communicating your desires, and were mature beyond your years today. I was totally choked up. You should all be so proud of yourselves. Bravo!

  25. I hope you know that far more adults are with you than against you. As a parent of a GHS ninth grader, who has been in private schools up until now, I have to say how much I am loving GHS. I am beyond impressed by the discussions happening on the Facebook page and so very, very glad that my son is now a Bulldog. You all rock!

  26. We are not connected to Occupy Seattle so stop trying to create an association when none exists. Also “Occupy your High school”? wtf, that’s not our name. Bad journalism.

  27. Back in 2001-03 i was in high school and we organized walkouts over the Iraq War…and only a few dozen kids from each school showed up. It’s great to see so many kids involved in an issue that truly effects them. Even if some kids join in just for the spectacle, at least they are surrounding themselves with new ideas and new information…that’s what an education should be in large. And as far as skipping class (the CD’s biggest crime …lol) IF THE STATE DOESNT TAKE OUR KID’S EDUCATION SERIOUSLY, WHY SHOULD THE STUDENTS!