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Huntington Park High students walk out to protest pending removal of teachers

May 10, 2011 | 12:40 pm

An estimated 250 to 300 students from Huntington Park High School organized a walkout to protest the anticipated replacement of at least half the school’s teachers.

The Los Angeles Board of Education is scheduled to vote Tuesday afternoon on the aggressive school-improvement strategy, which has been pushed by board member Yolie Flores, a graduate of Huntington Park High who represents the area.

According to one walkout participant, students gathered in an outdoor area of campus and refused to go to class at about 10 a.m. The intended destination of protest leaders was the headquarters of the Los Angeles Unified School District, located just west of downtown, where a public meeting was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. The nearly seven-mile trek through busy city streets was expected to take two hours or more.

An estimated 10 to 15 adults from the school were accompanying the students, a standard precaution to try to keep students safe.

An internal district memo indicated that no bus transportation would be provided to return students to campus. For some past protests the district has provided such transportation as a safety measure.

One participant emailed that students were upset at both the dismantling of the school and exception that is being made for Libra Academy, a new small school on the edge of campus. Libra has higher test scores than the school at large, a reason Flores cited both for preserving Libra and starting over at the main campus.

Students “find it very unfair that the adjoined school Libra with its hand-picked higher-achieving students will not be affected by the change,” said the participant, who identified himself as Joey.

Applicants are admitted to Libra by random lottery, but its pool of students is higher-performing before high school than other Huntington Park students, according to data compiled by teachers at the high school.

Some students interviewed on campus last week objected to the pending loss of familiar teachers, although most students had little familiarity with the pending board vote at the time they were questioned.

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-- Howard Blume

California Schools Guide

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