Middle school students stage protest, get arrested
March 23, 2007 (WLS) -- Some south suburban students staged a protest Friday in support of fired teachers and some of the students ended up getting arrested. The protest was at Simmons Middle School in Oak Lawn.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that many of the eighth grade students at the school are studying right now civil disobedience in their social studies classes. Many of them are upset with the board of School District 122, which voted to let 30 teachers go next year because of budget issues. Included in that group are some very popular eighth grade teachers, so the entire eighth grace class, about 250 students, staged a sit-in in the second floor hallway right after lunch.
When the students refused to budge, the school called Oak Lawn police. Many of the students still refused to move, and they started getting vocal, so police ended up arresting seven of them, six boys and one girl. Police took them to the station so that their parents could come and get them.
The students will face no charges, but they did learn about civil disobedience firsthand.
"They learned a number of lessons from this. Number one, that in a public middle school, protesting is probably not going to go very far without authorities coming in and putting a stop to it," said Dr. Ken Jandes, superintendent.
The district is asking for a tax increase in the referendum on April 17, and they say, if that was to pass, they may be able to reinstate the jobs of many of those teachers.
The superintendent is planning a meeting with some of the eighth grade parents on Monday evening.
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