Bonnie and I just got back from a student rally at Franklin High School, and it was awesome and inspiring and empowering.
More than 100 students gathered to protest teacher layoffs during their lunch period. Organized by passionate seniors Sunny Nguyen and Clayton Ruthruff, the students chanted “our teachers, our voice” in support of teachers who recently received layoff notices. Students are frustrated with the layoff policies weighing years in the classroom over demonstrated performance.
Clayton, who came running at the bell with megaphone in hand, opened the rally with, “We want quality teachers, not teachers who have been here longer.” He encouraged students the channel their anger into positive change. Sunny followed, encouraging attendance at the next Seattle School Board meeting. They then pulled Bonnie up, who offered additional words of encouragement.
The rally ended with students filling out petition cards against the “last hired, first fired” layoff policy and voting for the top school issue. Students overwhelmingly identified “termination of our teachers” as the most pressing issue facing Franklin.
We weren’t the only over-18s in the crowd. A small group of parents and educators joined the students in supporting quality teachers.
No matter how many events like this I attend, I am always inspired — especially when students are acting as their own advocates. So often we speak on behalf of students. It’s nice to hear things straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were.