Students protest double sessions Hundreds walk out over defeat of bond issue

The Providence Journal, p. C1 – October 14, 1983 

About 40 students protested the vote against expanding the Chariho High School to better accommodate the increasing number of students. The student that made an announcement for the demonstration over the loud speaker was suspended.

Youth made signs that read:

“Our future is your future”

“We want knowledge to go to college”

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”

A student leader asserted:

“We are not doing this to hurt anyone […] We are too young to vote for the bond issue, but we do have an opinion about double sessions.”

Board approves 2-day suspensions for protesters; 700 may be affected

The Providence Journal, page C1 – October 18, 1983

A mass of students, ranging from 300 to as many as 700, staged a walkout to demonstrate their frustration with the double sessions at Chariho Regional School, arguing that such structuring of the school’s schedule leads to significant overcrowding. There was recently a vote to decide whether or not to enlarge the school – the result was a resounding no.

Consequences?

The School Board approved the punishment of 2-day suspensions for the students that participated in the protest.

The School Committee Chairman at the time asserted:

“None of the students should have been naive to think they wouldn’t be punished.”

Parents pushed back though, arguing that students should be allowed to express their views and that the punishment was too harsh against their children.

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.