Students, School Committee resolve most issues that sparked walkout But Iafrate asserts administrators still must improve communications

The Providence Journal, p. C1 – April 25th, 1986

Three weeks following the protest at North Providence walkout, administrators were still working with students to address their concerns about certain school policies. Student leaders conveyed their satisfaction with how the School Committee responded to the demands of the protestors. There are no plans for future demonstrations at this time.

The chairman of the senior advisory council shared how the superintendent initially reacted to students’ plans for a walkout, further proving to the organizers that the only way to make administrators listen was through protest:

“The superintendent came in [to the meeting between us and the Head Master]. He was asked a question, and he jumped on the kid’s back. He started yelling. The attitude he came in with was all we were was a bunch of kids and all we had to do was be disciplined. We didn’t get answers, we got yelling.'”

After this incident, the head of the School Committee publicly announced that it intended to improve communication channels between students, school administrators, and the committee.

 

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300 high school students walk out, are suspended in N. Providence

The Providence Journal, p. A5 – April 5th 1986

Seniors at North Providence spent a week organizing a one-day boycott of classes to protest school conditions and policies. The day of the demonstration, someone unexpectedly pulled the fire alarm, and everyone vacated the school. Only 250 students returned to class. The rest remained outside to prove their point. The students’ grievances were expressed during a meeting they held with school administrators before staging this protest. 

The student protesters expressed concerns about the following:

  • Elimination of early dismissal for seniors with a final period as a study hall.
  • Restroom conditions
  • Heating issues
  • Cafeteria overcrowding
  • Elimination of a student smoking room/prohibition of smoking on school property
  • The 18-Day Attendance Rule – the North Providence School Committee reduced the maximum amount of days students can be absent and still graduate from 40 to 18.

Consequences?

The youth involved were suspended and could only return to school once accompanied by a parent.