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.”

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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.

Consequences?

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.”