Michigan students stage sit-in in solidarity with laid-off teachers

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/05/hang-together-or-hang-separate.html


I wish the kids would please take the time to silently learn where to register and how to vote and remember to do so when you are 18. Also set an annual reminder in phones or whatever about this and how you feel so that when you can vote you are motivated to do so.


Auburn is nowhere near Detroit.

Auburn Hills is in the Metro Detroit area which is where Avondale High School is.


Ah. :heart:


Such a great learning experience. The same thing happened at my high school and we stormed the school board. Somehow they “found” the money to save our teacher’s job.


I get why you are saying this - voter turnout is lower among young people - but if I may offer a gentle critique, this kind of comment comes across as “doesn’t quite get it”, and maybe even a bit condescending to the students involved.

This act of resistance is more than what most middle-aged adults do, usually under the misguided belief that the ballot box is always what matters most. I wonder how realizing their kids are politically active will influence the voting behaviour of parents, and whether it will spur some parents to action?

People often assume that laziness is the reason many young people don’t vote, but the issue is way more complex than that.


There’s Auburn Hills, MI, but that’s 30 or so miles north of Detroit.

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Get it correct - it’s AUBURN HILLS, MI. There is no “Auburn, MI”.


TGOP grandstanding or preemptive panic that The Palace is going to be empty almost as frequently as The Silverdome come October?

Vive la liberte vive la fraternite!


This is great, but i wonder what options does the school have in order to retain the 6 teachers that were to be laid off? I suppose the school itself has the answers to this so it’s hard to speculate on what can be done. I hope that these students voices are heard, but if there’s no budget to account for those teachers’ pay then there’s not much that can be done.

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It is complicated and there are many factors that drive participation. Though I would like to add that many adults don’t do similar to what these kids have done because they more to lose by doing so. I know I could be much more active if I didn’t have to trade my labor every day to support myself and others.

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I think you are reading too much into my comment.

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It is passing strange that in the US it is so easy to find more money to pay sports coaches and deans and ceos more, and yet so impossible to pay actual teachers and needed support staff. It’s almost like people don’t want children to be educated, which is ridiculous; I mean, nobody could be that stupid. Don’t they understand where their pensions come from?


Here’s that very tiny-print note from the article. All errors present in the original.

In the words of John Morley, “You have not converted a man just because you have silenced him.” Today we sit together in silence to show the administrators of Avondale that we as the student body, are aware of atmospheric decline of this school, and how multiple Students of Avondale no longer enjoy coming to this school. The following things we will list are the reason we are sitting here today, and we will not move or speak until these are addressed, and the administrators Mr. Doug Wilson, Mr. Jamie Brooks, and Ms. Sharon Hyde sign this letter and come up with further ways they will change this school. Our goal is for them to admit to the actions they have taken that have made this place unwelcoming, and out of touch with the family feeling this school once had. We want the administrators to take responsibility for their actions, just as they teach the students to do.

The relationships between students, and administration has declined more and more throughout the recent years, this has been the result of students feeling as though they are not welcomed by administration, or feel as though our ideas are heard, and genuinely being appreciated. Often times when we express concerns, we are given a simple answer and told that if we approach with a plan, we will be heard and given a chance. This statement has been frequently done, and we haven’t received any movement or progression with our plans. Our solution that we have said on various accounts is that when we approach administration with new ideas or concerns, we have physical evidence that there has been a discussion, such as a signature. We ask that Mr. Doug Wilson, Mr. Jamie Brooks, or Ms. Sharon Hyde to come up with ways that they can improve the situations they have caused.

Administration has instilled so much fear into their students about taking their privileges to walk or graduate away that they let themselves get hurt and risk their own safety to protect that privilege. We are here today because we have began to feel less as students, and more as a number, or asset. Budget has become more important than our education or experience of high school. The school participation has been the lowest it has ever been, within the past two years especially this year. For example, for purple and gold spirit day every year we have 80% or higher participation. This year for spring fest we had 25% participation, and the excitement or lack thereof that the students had spoke volumes to how we all felt.

The atmosphere in the school has changed and the students are not the only ones who are noticing. It’s easy to see the frustration in teachers and in the students when staffing is constantly shuffled and the classes the teachers have, change from year to year. There is a lack of consistency, especially with one of the most important classes on campus, leadership. As the school and administrators know the leadership class is a key part to the school, this is where most of the school events are planned. Multiple teachers that have had previous experience throughout the years offered to teach the class, but instead a teacher that was unaware of half the events that occur throughout Avondale was chosen, and the class was told that if we’re leaders “We should be able to do anything.” Although that is valid and real innovators should be able expand in any situation, we should be able to express concerns we had with the direction the class was going. Instead we were told that if we cannot adapt than we are not leaders. Mr. Jamie Brooks stated that on various accounts when we approached with concerns. A leader needs a mentor, and when we go for help or concerns we should be able to have administrators by our side, acting as our mentors to help us lead and create positive movements forward. Instead we are treated as though we are on our own, which in reality we have come to the conclusion that we are alone. The students and teachers of Avondale have become separated from the administrators. Another concern we have is the fact that Ms. Sharon Hyde doesn’t know the names of the majority of students in her school. Although we understand that it would be very difficult for her to know the names of upwards of 1,000 students, she recurrently misnamed students that are heavily involved in school activities, or barely ever appears out of the office. Although we know that being principal can be a tedious and time consuming job, if teachers are expected to be held at a high standard, administrators should be held at an even higher one, and when they fall far behind from excellence, it is imperative that they accept and admit to what they have done wrong.

Teachers were given classes that they did not want to teach which resulted in more conflict. Building off of teachers, and our concerns for them. We understand that there has been recent budget cuts which will result in having teachers throughout the school be laid off. Although we understand that changes have to be made, we do not agree with the evaluations that have been made and how they were done. Since the first evaluation at the beginning of the year, we went to administrators such as Mr. Doug Wilson, or Mr. Jamie Brooks, and suggested that although we do understand that evaluations must be done by administration, it is also vital to have multiple student’s input on each evaluation, although we were told it would be considered. Again our voices weren’t heard, disheartening us once again. Students first, then teachers. The students of this school and all schools are the most important part of this whole system. We are the reason this school is running, and we have fallen down the totem poll and become less and less important to them. We recently went to social media to take a poll on how many students like going to Avondale. 81% said no out of 361 students. 8/10 students do not like coming to this school. So today, we sit. We sit in silence to show how we’ve felt all year. Silenced. Claims have been said that we have a voice, but in reality our voice is never heard. So today. We’re done talking. The once happy, welcoming culture of this school has diminished, and today we are doing exactly what they really want us to do. Be silent.


Some people also think they’ve been invited over for a game of cards, and while they are sorting their first hand the house is burning down around them.

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The name of the city still hasn’t been corrected, fwiw…


So do they want the admins to say something like?

  • Spirit day is now mandatory, you will have 100% participation.
  • A mentor will be appointed to lead the leaders by telling them what to do
  • All students will wear QR codes, which must be plainly visible at all times (so that administrators can scan them and know the student’s name)
  • Teachers who are laid off will receive aggregated reports of the student evaluations (% positive vs negative)

So many protests nowadays seem rather ambiguous. In my parent’s generation, it was “End the war” or “Civil rights for all”.

My own generation didn’t protest much, but a school one like in the story that I remember was in junior high, they told us they were closing our high school and people from our class would be merged into the rival high school next year. The protest was pretty simple, “Keep our high school open”. We wanted to go where our older brothers and sisters had gone, with the kids we had gone to school with for years, not merged in with a bunch of strangers at the rival school. Of course they merged us anyway, but at least it was a clear demand.

In a case like this, we would’ve just demanded that they “Keep the teachers”. I wonder if rambling about spirit day participation, event planning mentors, and memorizing names is better somehow.

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