Students walk out of Newark schools

Craig D. Frazier | 9/25/2014, 5:30 p.m.

Special to the AmNews

More than 200 Newark high school students left class last week and marched to Military Park in downtown Newark chanting, “Cami Anderson must go.” The rally marked the first of a two-day student boycott from Science Park High School, Arts High School and Central High School.

Parents and local community organizations continue their outcry against the One Newark plan, which Newark Schools Superintendent Cami Anderson announced in December. The plan includes the expansion of charter schools, which already serve approximately 20 percent of the city’s students, as well as the consolidation of certain public schools.

“We are building a movement to take back democratic local control of our schools,” said Kristin Towkaniuk, president of the Newark Students Union. “Our actions are demonstrating the community’s unrest over Chris Christie’s efforts to privatize our public schools.”

The protest came on the heels of the school district’s failed transportation plan that left countless students stranded on the first day of school. “Our recent efforts to bring greater excellence, equity and efficiency to our public school system is a direct response to family demand for better options and opportunities. While we have responded with urgency, we also know that change is hard,” said Assistant School Superintendent Brad Haggerty. “We are supportive of our students expressing their views on important issues and remain committed to continuing discussions with those who have concerns. However, every minute of instructional time counts, and we must unite as a community in delivering this message to our youth.”