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.

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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.

 

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.

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.”

 

High School students stage Warren walkout

The Providence Journal, page B1 – March 10, 1976

250 students walked out in protest of what they viewed as an infringement on their open campus privileges to spend study periods socializing in the main foyer.

Success?

The demonstration was signaled by a fire alarm, and then lasted for only 15 minutes when the superintendent demanded students return to class if they wanted to engage him in conversation about their concerns.

The superintendent argued that the students had misunderstood the situation – their social spaces were being relocated, not eliminated entirely.

Outcomes?

What resulted was the formation of a student committee to partner with the superintendent and high school administrators to carry out the creation of new social spaces in the school.