<< Teachers protest budget cuts

By Camilla Rambaldi, 16, Taft HS (Woodland Hills)
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It took me a while to realize exactly what was going to happen Friday morning. Throughout the week, my teachers kept talking to us about how they were not going to be in school Friday, although at first, they never specified the reason. On Wednesday my Spanish teacher, who I have first period, made things more clear for me. She said teachers were protesting against the budget cuts during first period. I thought it was great that the teachers were protesting against the budget cuts, because it’s really unfair toward the education of all LAUSD students. Students were confused about whether they needed to show up on Friday. My sixth period teacher told me we had three options: either protest with the teachers, but we would be marked absent; show up after the protest at 9 a.m. and still be marked absent; or show up at 8 a.m. like normal. I was like, "Show up where at 8 a.m.! First period?" I was so confused, because they still wouldn’t specify, even if I asked. My sister told me that Taft called my home leaving a recorded message about Friday, but my sister hung up on them so I never really got the actual message.

Finally on Thursday, things got more organized. Our principal, Sharon Thomas, announced over the PA that students should report to school at 8 a.m. and go to the football field where attendance would be taken. Initially I was planning to join the protests, but none of my friends wanted to go and I didn’t want to be alone. Also, since it’s the end of the school year, I didn’t want to be marked absent.

Friday I arrived at 7:20 a.m. and no one was at school, and usually students are already there. I thought that most students decided not to show up. But when I went near the football field, I saw a long line of students waiting to get in the gate. It was hard to find my friends, but after cutting through so many people I finally reached them. They made us wait almost 30 minutes in line in the sun, just to get to the table where attendance would be taken. By the time I got in the field, it was 8:30 a.m. and the second period bell was going to ring at 8:50. I sat down with my friends and studied for a Spanish final. Other students were fooling around with their friends, listening to iPods or on cell phones trying to find their friends. When the bell rang, we reported to our second periods. All the teachers showed up and we started school like a regular day. My second period teacher went immediately into talking about the Cold War. The only teacher who told us what happened was my third period teacher. She said teachers had walked with signs around the block. From her explanation it seemed like the protests were successful.