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Los Angeles students threaten walkouts

May 22, 2009 |  6:00 am


A number of Los Angeles Unified School District students say they will walk out of their classes today to protest potential teacher layoffs. The group sent an anonymous e-mail to communications media that included the details of a news conference, scheduled for 6:30 a.m. in front of the Santee Education Complex near downtown. 

The e-mail also said that if teachers were fired, the students would boycott standardized tests scheduled later this month, even though most such testing for the year is completed.

The threatened walkout follows a demonstration last Friday by the teachers union to protest rising class size and potential firings. The district, which is facing up to $131 million in new cuts this year, could lay off up to 2,500 instructors.

During their demonstration, almost 40 teachers union members were arrested for sitting in the middle of Beaudry Avenue outside district headquarters.

On Thursday, about 350 students walked out of classes at Santee and West Adams Prep, according to district officials.

The student e-mail also listed a contact telephone number. A boy who answered the phone declined to discuss specifics, aside from listing several schools where walkouts were planned. "I can't answer for security reasons," he said several times.

-- Jason Song

Photo: Students protest outside Santee High School in downtown Los Angeles this morning. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times