Woodbury High School students leave class to protest proposed scheduleAbout 30 students walked out of class to express their opposition to District 833’s plans to move to a six-period, three-trimester schedule on Thursday.
By: Louise Ernewein, South Washington County Bulletin
About 30 students walked out of class to express their opposition to District 833’s plans to move to a six-period, three-trimester schedule on Thursday.
Students resorted to peaceful protest on Thursday as they made their views known about plans to change high school schedules in South Washington County schools.
About 30 students walked out of second hour class at Woodbury High School at 9:15 a.m. Thursday, gathering at the band shell in nearby Ojibway Park.
They were protesting in response to the news that the District 833 school board is considering altering the high school schedule from a four period, four half-semester system to a six-period, three-trimester program.
That decision is likely to be made at a school board meeting tonight (Thursday) at the District Service Center in Cottage Grove.
“The (school) administration told us that the school board doesn’t want too many people to show up, like a huge crowd. However, when I talked to the school board, they were very impressed and said they wanted more people to show up,” said Robert Hennen, a senior at Woodbury High School who organized the protest.
“They really want more public input, but the administration has been telling us it’s not so much our choice," he said.
He explained students would be returning to classes in third hour and were planning to return during passing time so as to disturb classes as little as possible.
“We really pulled through and showed that we are adults and can do this very, very peaceful protest, breaking as few rules as possible and not skipping class so that we can’t be accused of only doing it to skip class,” said Hennen.
Woodbury High School principal Linda Plante went out to talk with students at the band shell.
She said as long as students returned to school for their third hour class, they would not be marked down as absent.
“I’m not against protest but I’m against protest when it’s stupid, and it’s stupid because we already have things in place to address the issues (you are raising),” she told the students.
“I do know that the school board is listening to you.
“I highly, highly doubt that the schedule is going to change and we are going to make some changes.
“The things that the kids have brought up are definitely, definitely being addressed.”
Mario Stokes, a junior who attended the protest, said he was planning to show up at tonight’s school board meeting to tell board members his views.
“I’m just going to tell them that, basically, I’m not whining about the six-by-three schedule as much as I’m trying to show them that the four-by-four specifically works for a person like me, and for all the people out here (at the protest] it works as much for them, too,” he explained.
“We have almost an hour and a half in each classroom with a teacher [under the four by four system]… so I’m not getting as much homework and more attention than I ever would in a six by three day. That’s why I feel it’s better.”
The District 833 school board will be meeting tonight at 7 p.m. to discuss a number of items, including taking action on the proposed high school schedule changes.
The meeting will be held at the District Service Center, 7362 East Point Douglas Road, Cottage Grove.
For more information visit www.sowashco.k12.mn.us.