February 1, 2012
Students from at least five city high schools walked out of classes this afternoon in opposition to the city’s school closure proposals.
Led by students at the Legacy High School for Integrated Studies, more than 50 students from schools in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn joined other activists in Union Square shortly after the walkout to criticize the closure plans and defend their schools, many of which are up for closure this year.
The protest took place just blocks from Washington Irving High School, which is on the chopping block along with Legacy, but only a small handful of Irving students attended the rally. Though Legacy students led the march along 14th Street from the school to the square, the overall effort was organized by representatives of the Coalition for Education Justice and the Urban Youth Collaborative, two activists groups that organize students when their schools are facing closure.
As the rally began, representatives of Occupy Wall Street taught the students how to “mic-check”—the process of echoing speakers’ messages to amplify them—and led them in chanting, “Education is a right.”
Before individual students lined up to speak, the group unfurled a banner listing the 25 schools on the closure list and the 33 schools that face “turnaround.”