Newark students walk out again to protest state control of schools

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Toni Yates has the details on student protests on the new plan for Newark schools. (WABC)

Wednesday marked the second day of a two-day boycott from students in Newark who walked out of class at three high schools.

Some 300 students rallied outside the city's public school headquarters building, demanding the end to the One Newark plan that has revamped the city's education system and moved some students to new locations, expanded charter schools and changed leadership.

They are also calling for the removal of superintendent Cami Anderson.

About 200 students skipped classes Tuesday to to rally at Military Park.

Students say their concerns are not being heard.

"We are building a movement to take back democratic local control of our schools," said Kristin Towkaniuk, president of the Newark Students Union. "Our action...will be an escalation demonstrating the community's unrest over Chris Christie's efforts to privatize our public schools."

The protest comes on the heels of a parent-led boycott during the first two days of the new school year and amid strong criticism of the school district's failed transportation plan that left countless children stranded on the first day of school.

After leaving their schools, students from Science Park High School, Arts High School and Central High School gathered to participate in courses on the history of student activism, art-making for activists and a workshop on student rights.

They marched down the street, stopping traffic, in an ongoing battle since the district was put under state control years ago and Christie appointed Cami Anderson as superintendent. Activists are basically calling it a shotgun marriage that is nothing but a failure, and they say it's time for a divorce.

"We are tired of taking orders without our consent," student Jose Leonardo said. "She is an outsider. She should work with the community, she's not doing that. So if she can't work with us, she might as well leave."

As classes resumed, many parents reported confusion and anger over the One Newark system. Anderson says only one in four schools is desired by parents in a district of 40,000 students.

She said her plan is to make sure that all the students get an excellent education and that all the schools offer an excellent education.

But the community says that can't be done, because there is no cooperation between the district and themselves.

Student demonstrators will take their protest directly to Newark Public Schools headquarters on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.

"Today was a peaceful demonstration," said Roberto Cabanas, community organizer with NJ Communities United. "(Wednesday's) action will be more dramatic."
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