30 Mar Hamilton High School Students Walk Out to Protest Cuts, Teacher Layoff Notices (CA)

March 30, 2011

By: Richard Win ton and Irfan Khan
Source: Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles–At least 1,500 students at Hamilton High School walked out Friday morning to protest layoff notices being issued to some of their favorite teachers.

Students packed the sidewalks around the high school in a show of support for teachers and support staff who were among about 7,000 L.A. Unified School District employees to receive layoff notices recently as the district grappled with cutting its budget.

“It has been extremely peaceful,” district spokeswoman Ellen Morgan said of the protest.

The district said about 1,500 students participated in the demonstration; others doubled that estimate. The school’s marching band led banner-waving student protesters in a march around the campus before listening to a series of student leaders address the gathering on the need to fight to keep their educators.

Although cuts have not been finalized, the directors of two popular and successful Hamilton programs — the humanities magnet and the music magnet — have been informed by L.A. Unified that their positions are being eliminated.

Like school districts across the state, L.A. Unified has prepared for the worst and sent out "potential" notices. "Teachers here are amazing," senior Naomi Hecht told Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez.

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