Westchester High students walk out, apparently to protest conversion of school to magnet [Updated]
At least 400 students walked out of class at Westchester High School on Wednesday morning. Los Angeles school district officials said the walkout began at 10:30 a.m. and was initiated by current magnet-school students at Westchester. The protest was still continuing nearly two hours later.
District officials said students were protesting the planned conversion of the neighborhood school to be entirely a magnet program. Currently, just a portion of the school is a magnet.
Some faculty members and students have been concerned that neighborhood students could be crowded out of the school if enrollment were based on a magnet-school application open citywide. Magnet programs are designed to promote integration and are based on a complex points system.
District Supt. John Deasy has said that Westchester High is significantly under-enrolled and that there will be plenty of classroom space remaining for local students as well as black students attending through a permit.
[Updated at 9:25 p.m.: Sophomore Robert Sharp said late Wednesday that the protesters were not against the conversion of the campus to a magnet school. Instead, he said, the students are unhappy that "so many good, longtime teachers" are losing their jobs and the students don't believe that is the way to improve the school.]
-- Howard Blume