Sand Springs School Students Walk Out To Protest State Funding Cuts
SAND SPRINGS, Oklahoma - Students in Sand Springs held a walkout Thursday morning to protest the state's budget cuts to education.
Some of the students at Central Ninth Grade Center decided to stage a walkout in the school's gymnasium.
Shannon Neal said her daughter was a part of the walkout. She said she is proud to see her daughter stand up for what she believes in.
"They are really just wanting to stand up for the teachers who take money out of their pocket to make the classroom work," Neal said.
We were not allowed inside for the walkout but administrators said the students rallied for 22 minutes, which represents the $22 million cut from the state's education budget.
Administrators said students talked about how those cuts impact everything from teacher pay to school security.
"The truth is, when you start implementing safety precautions in the way of equipment, that costs money," Superintendent Sherry Durkee said.
Students who walked out of class were counted for an unexcused absence. Neal said the cause was worth her daughter missing class.
"So long as they're not creating a riot or something, if they're just respectfully speaking their minds, I think we should absolutely back them 100 percent," Neal said.
A statement from the Sand Springs School superintendent's office says these students also plan to focus on the school shooting in Parkland, Florida a couple of weeks ago.
"Some of the 9th graders at the Central 9th Grade Center at Sand Springs Public Schools have planned to stage a walkout tomorrow, March 1st. The "plan" from what administrators has learned, is to leave class at 9:00 a.m. and go back after 22 minutes. The 22 minutes is relative to the newest funding cut for the Oklahoma Department of Education. The students will be offered a gymnasium for their walkout to provide both shelter and security.
While we appreciate the student's wish to express their concern, this walkout is not sanctioned by the district or school administration.
In the event of a student walkout, district administration will work to minimize disruption to the academic day and student learning. Upon prior notice of students’ intention to demonstrate with a walkout, district and site administration will create a safe and secure environment for students who wish to protest. Although all teachers will continue their classes and instruction, administrators and support staff will supervise students during this time. Students who walk out will be counted absent from any class or classes they miss. This absence will be unexcused and standard consequences will apply. The administration of Sand Springs Public Schools encourages parents to talk to their children to find ways to productively demonstrate their thoughts on important issues.
It is unknown if the students will follow through with the walkout and how many students may participate."
The superintendent said students at Charles Page High School also held a walkout after hearing about the rally at the ninth-grade school.
Administrators and district leaders said they did not sanction the walkout but said they want to create a safe environment for the kids wanting to protest.
Bartlesville and Broken Arrow students have also held walkouts recently.