Strikes Urged at 3 High Schools

The Providence Journal, page 1 – May 8, 1970

200 students from 12 secondary schools in Providence, with representatives from Hope, Mt. Pleasant, Classical, and Central High Schools and the surrounding area met to hold a vote to boycott classes.

Students passed out leaflets calling for a strike on Hope High School property and encouraging students to show up at the State House demonstration later that day.

Classical High School students were also encouraged to stay out of school, even without parent permission. Without written consent from an adult, the punishment for students is one day of suspension. The superintendent said:

“While the students’ conviction should be represented, the primary issue for me to consider is that the Providence public schools are for the use of all the people and therefore primary responsibility is to operate schools for the purpose of education.”

The was a rally held in the Brown University campus for high school students in favor of a strike to gather before the greater community-wide demonstration.

Student staged a sit-in during the meeting with the superintendent to discuss walk-out consequences and drafted the following:

“We, the undersigned, demand

  1. The end to the two-week suspension ruling.

  2. The substitution of detention during school with no loss of academic credit for non-academic offenses.

  3. We censure Dr. Briggs (supt) for his lack of cooperation with students concerning immunity for students who are absent on Friday.”

A student leader at Classical added:

“We’ll challenge this idea of suspension if they try to suspend us.”

And another young person commented: 

“A student without such [parental] permission who was suspended for missing school to go to the rally would be punished academically for something political.”


Lincoln students have a voice

The Providence Journal, page B1 – May 20, 1974

The Lincoln Student School Committee was created in 1973 and is the only one of its kind in RI.

It was proposed by the student council to have this group of delegates attend the School Committee’s meetings.

The superintendent said that the student committee

“…definitely has opened a valuable avenue of communication.”

The Student Committee Chairman asserted that:

“Just the fact that we (the student school board) [exist] showed that we’re not all hoodlums.”

The Student School Committee focused on a variety of issues – they…

  1. Surveyed students around the state and in Massachusetts to get youth input on whether or not “no smoking” rules should be enforced.
  2. Circulated a survey to get feedback about an “open campus” to allow students to spend free time outside of the classroom.
  3. Advocated for mandatory meetings between students and guidance counselors.

The chairman of the student school board says that an important lesson he’s learned in his position is that “change takes time” – new ideas won’t take shape immediately. He also thinks that the Lincoln student school committee should be doing more to represent students in the middle and elementary grade levels. There is work being done to improve communication channels between these younger students and the high school representatives.

The student school committee is not elected by the student body at large, but rather by a elections board put together by the student council.