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.



Lynch says students right in boycotting classes

The Providence Journal, page A6 – December 11, 1975

Pawtucket Mayor Dennis M. Lynch (pictured above) gave his support for Pawtucket high school students who refused to attend classes last week. 

Students were protesting that they had to make up classes lost during the teachers’ strike in the fall over their holiday break.

Leading up to the boycott, the students expressed their concerns at two school board meetings.

Johnston High School Students use boycott to protest lunches

The Provide Journal, page B1 – March 10, 1976

On March 9th, a majority of students at Johnston High School boycotted purchasing lunch from the cafeteria to protest the high cost and poor quality of the food. Only 25 students (out of a total of 500) bought food that day. The demonstration was an attempt to improve the state food program, which provides food for Johnston public schools. Students say that the school is overcharging for food they can buy cheaper elsewhere. The Rhode Island governor at the time suggested an increase of 10 cents per day for lunch next year, with the current price set a 50 cents. 

Students distributed pamphlets that read:

“Boycott! Let’s boycott all food sold in the cafeteria. We must boycott to improve the quality of lunches. Bring your own lunch and boycott!”

“If you are displeased with the quality of hot lunches, please boycott, Do Not Buy! If you are displeased with the price of Drake’s Cakes, please boycott. Do Not Buy!”

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.


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.


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