Tolman HS students told to return

The Providence Journal, page B1 – May 15, 1974

400 students from Tolman High School in Pawtucket went on strike against a proposal the restructure the class schedule for the coming year. It would go from seven 40-minute periods a day to six 53-minute classes. Students raised concerns about how this new extended schedule would affect seniors trying to complete additional course credits and students intending to work after school hours.

The strike, which was planned over the course of a week-and-a-half, resulted in an absence of about 43% of the student body.


The principal threatened to suspend the students involved, but the assistant superintendent was going to speak with him about letting the students off with a warning.


The student leaders of the strike encouraged their peers to return to classes following the demonstration.


Featured Image: 1974 Tolman High School Yearbook, Cover


Students Warned of Suspension

The Providence Journal, page 1 – May 6, 1970

Providence high school students left classes in the middle of the day to join a protest downtown against US intervention in Cambodia.

Groups of students from Classical and Central High Schools met with the superintendent to discuss their plans to demonstrate and the potential consequences. The school district leader’s response was:

“The issue is that the public school system is here to provide education and that means to be in school.”

He went on to say:

“We will no longer accept student walkouts. Any student who leaves the schools will be suspended for a minimum of two weeks and, after that time, will not be allowed to return unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.”

When spreading the word about the demonstration, student leaders reminded their peers of the looming threat of suspension if they did participate in the walkout so everyone was aware of the possible repercussions.

177 Classical students signed petitions showing their support of the walkout.

One student representative said:

“We feel war is wrong. We have a moral hate for war. We feel that the protest of the war in Cambodia and Vietnam is more important than the two weeks of zeroes we would get from being suspended.”

The student leaders discussed their plans for the walkout and the potential consequences with an attorney from the RI affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union.

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.”

Pawtucket Students Plan School Sit-In

The Providence Journal, page 19 – October 1, 1969

Students at Tolman High School in Pawtucket staged a sit-in in the principal’s office to show the school administration that they wanted their voices heard. The day before, 200 students walked out of school to protest rules against possessing tobacco products on the property.


School leaders offered the protesting students a deal that their parents would not be informed of their behavior if they served two weeks of detention. Most student did not accept this arrangement.

Students responded:

“I believe we shouldn’t be punished.”

“The teachers are not punished when they strike.”


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.