Students in NJ walk out over education cuts

April 29, 2010 3:17:34 PM PDT
Hundreds of Orange High School students walked out of school and hit the streets at 10:00 Thursday morning. "No budget cuts! No budget cuts!" they chanted.

Their message was clear and aimed at Governor Chris Christie.

Stop cutting school funding and no pay freeze for their teachers.

"Why don't he take a pay freeze? Do anything but cut services and ask teachers for a pay freeze. We love our school and our education," senior Guerphara Louis said.

The students from all grades weren't alone. Their principal was also walking with them.

"They have made their voices clear. They don't want the budget cut and they are behind their teachers," Principal Erica Stewart said.

The crowd stopped at city hall to talk with Mayor Eldridge Hawkins Jr.

"First of all, I told them that this would have been better done not on school hours, but I then told them that I respected what they were doing and was proud of their ability to gather peacefully on matters important to them," he said.

At the same time in Paterson, about 200 kids walked out of eastside high, but things weren't as controlled.

Police say some students climbed fences, even threw trash cans. Six students were taken into custody.

Governor Christie responded to the protests by saying in part, "Students would be better served if they were given a full, impartial understanding of the problems that got us here in the first place and why dramatic action was needed."

But the students we spoke with in Orange say the only thing they care about is their future and the quality of their education.

"We're gonna be lawyers and doctors and stuff to help in the world. They can't be taking away money and stuff that we need to build," student Aquiyah Williams.

The children in Orange went back to school after the walkout.

Officials with Governor Christie say this incident is just more of the same and that these children belong in school and hopefully no one put them up to these protests. Students claimed it was their idea and that it was in support of their school and their teachers and in an effort to avoid losing money for programs.


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