'It's Not Cool. Fund Our School,' Students Walkout At Edison Preparatory School
TULSA, Oklahoma - Hundreds of students walked out of class at Edison Preparatory, saying they're fed up because their school has no money and not enough teachers.
Parents also attended the protest – some calling for the resignation of the principal at the school.
"It's not cool. Fund our school," was the rallying cry at the protest Wednesday.
"What's our school system gone to? This is so, like, lame," C.J. Wilkerson said.
The students were protesting what they said has been a decline in their education because of a lack of teachers, particularly qualified ones.
"We are protesting the downhill quality of Edison as well as, like, high teacher turnover and how we had all, like, these great classes and slowly they've kind of gone away," one organizer said.
Parents also attended the rally. David White is one of many who said they are concerned too.
"We hear that our kids may have to sit in an auditorium for up to three hours a day just playing on their phones because there's not enough teachers, not enough subs. So, we're upset," he said.
White said he's attended PTSA and board meetings to try to help fix the problems, but said nothing can change without the support of administrators and the district.
"Teachers are scared. They don't feel supported by their principal or by the board," he said.
White said another problem is a lack of discipline.
He said with no teachers and no law and order, it's the perfect storm, which can lead to incidents like a teacher throwing a desk during class.
"Apparently, there was a group of boys in Mr. Reynolds’ class, who threw the desk, that knew that they were purposefully going to push his buttons and push him over the edge," White said.
Students and parents said they want things fixed at Edison but know they aren't the only school with problems.
"I can only speak for Edison, but this is happening all over TPS," one organizer said.
The school said the students who attended the hour-long protest were given an excused absence.
In response to the walkout, the district issued a response, saying:
"Part of providing a great education means preparing young people to be active members of our democracy, and what happened at Edison this morning is an example of students taking a stand for what they believe. We are taking the concerns that our students, teachers, and parents have raised seriously and working urgently with the TCTA, Edison teachers, and the Edison leadership team to develop both immediate and long-term action steps and solutions.
"Edison is an exceptional school and continues to be a shining star in our district and in our state. It is nationally ranked as a top school by US News and World Report, is home to our district's only AP Capstone program, features many successful fine art and athletic programs, and has a talented team of educators who are committed to bright futures for all students. The Edison community is also grappling with significant challenges around teacher retention and training, school culture and student behavior. These challenges are not unique to Edison, Tulsa Public Schools, or to other Oklahoma school districts - but the good news is that these are absolutely solvable problems. We are confident that with the continued support and engagement of our teachers, students, school leaders, PTSA, and TCTA, we can - and will - get to a place of positive and productive resolution."