Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mass Text Prompts Saturday Student Protests

Posted By on Sun, Mar 6, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Following a week of student sit-ins and walk-outs across the Gem State, hundreds of middle school and high school students rallied Saturday afternoon in Boise, Nampa, Lewiston and Coeur d'Alene to protest Tom Luna's reforms to education.

Two of three bills sponsored by Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction are moving swiftly through the legislature. A third measure, proposing teacher layoffs and increasing class size, is stuck in the Senate Education Committee but Luna is promising a revised version to be introduced in a matter of days.

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"The teachers have spoken. The parents have spoken," said student protest organizer Heidi Hughes, a senior at Meridian High School. "The last chance that Idaho schools have lays in the hands of the students."

Students from throughout the Treasure Valley braved the rain to stand on the steps of the Capitol Saturday. A group of approximately 30 high school students from Moscow carpooled to Boise to join their peers. Hughes told Citydesk that she spread the word of the rally through text.

"I sent out a mass text," said Hughes. "That went to about 30 of my friends. And they sent it to about 30 more and so on."

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Hughes said the Saturday event was a response to students getting in trouble for walking out of classrooms in a series of protests this past week.

"We decided that something more organized, meaningful and poignant needed to be done," said Hughes.

With the exception of a handful of Boise Democrats, including Rep. Brian Cronin and Sen. Nicole LeFavour, there were hardly any legislators in sight.

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