By M, a student at Santee Education Complex
*The writer’s name is being withheld because he’s afraid that he could get punished for skipping school to protest.
It took the 300 students from Santee Education Complex about an hour and 30 minutes to march from our school to LAUSD headquarters downtown. We were going slow. We were organizing the students so they wouldn’t get separated. We were chanting “Save our teachers now” and “Hey hey, ho ho, pink slips must have to go.”
The principal went with us and another administrator went and some guy from the district showed up at Santee super, super early and walked with us to the LAUSD building. They kept a low profile and they didn’t interfere.
As we walked there were some people in cars honking. We passed through some construction workers who supported us. They were like: “Yeah, go for it, go for it!”
When we got to the LAUSD headquarters the students scattered around the building not knowing what to do. And because of that the police yelled, “Get off the streets! Get off the streets!” They said we couldn’t have a sit-in right there, we had to go to a park across the street.
We were at the district for two or three hours, and the first hour was pretty much unorganized. We were planning to sit, but some of the students got out of control. We got control back toward the end.
At one point superintendent Ramon Cortines actually came downstairs and talked to us and said that he was proud of us. Later we saw him on television saying he was disappointed in the students who walked out.
I think that Cortines pretty much knew that he had made an error with all the cuts. At Santee we could lose about 25 of our 150 teachers. But he didn’t have really that much time to talk to us. He had to leave. He wasn’t there to hear us tell him our demands and what the consequences would be if they didn’t meet our demands.
Our first demand is that the district stops the pink slips and doesn’t get rid of teachers. Our second demand is more money for schools. Third, we want no retaliation against students for speaking out today.
I think that they should ask for money from the federal government. Why not ask companies? Or Bill Gates? He has a bunch of money.
The students from West Adams, Miguel Contreras and Manual Arts arrived later after everything was pretty much over.
We’re going to boycott the state testing next week if the teachers’ jobs aren’t saved. We’re going to boycott to show that we are serious. I don’t want them to think that we’re bluffing. We want them to take us seriously.
In the end, it wasn’t exactly what we expected. It got really disorganized. Also, there were a few arrests of people who were smoking. But everything was OK except for that.