High School students in New Haven are telling the adults to listen. And, we should.
A group of around a hundred students from High School in the Community, Wilbur Cross Metropolitan Business Academy, and Cooperative Arts, held a rally on New Haven’s green, on Monday, issuing a series of demands that include more student representation, a vote on the city school board, diversifying the curriculum and equitable funding and the hiring of minority teachers to reflect the community.
“I only have one black teacher and I got to Wilbur cross,” said Wilbur Cross senior Cowiya Arouna, in a video recorded by CT Core. Arouna was one of the lead organizers of the event, which was co-hosted by black lives matters New Haven.
“They don’t understand where we’re coming from more what we’re dealing with at home, so we don’t get the proper education we need.”
The New Haven Independent has the story:
“Chanting “Hey hey/ Ho ho / Board of Ed/ has got to go!,” the students headed to City Hall, where they gathered on the steps. New Haven Academy senior Wendy Marte read aloud the group’s list of demands. In addition to the request that the Board of Ed’s two elected non-voting student members be allowed to vote (“We must stop excluding the student voice!”), the demands include involving students in the search for a new superintendent of schools, diversifying the curriculum to include more black and Latino and history, taxing Yale more, equal funding for schools (“We need to see receipts, y’all!), and opposition to President Donald Trump’s education, health care and immigration policies.
Monday” program, Mayor Toni Harp said the protest reminded her of the time she and fellow Roosevelt University students walked out off campus in the early 1970s into downtown Chicago to demand passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. She also said she sees the value in their demand to allow student members to vote on Board of Ed matters. “The students have been very mature,” Harp said. “Their voice is important.” When she served until recently as board chair, she said, she routinely asked the student members how they would vote on matters before calling the question.”
Student Voices Should Be Included in the Conversation
A look at the comments section of the above New Haven Independent article was disheartening. A whole bunch of nay-sayers criticizing students for organizing collective action.
An epitaph often thrown is that students aren’t “engaged.” Well, here are students asking to be involved and engaged in the process. They risked suspension to be a part of this process — a process which affects them most. It’s their futures on the line.
Here’s more video of the event, originally post on CT CORE’s facebook page: