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LAUSD students protest teacher cuts

May 22, 2009 5:48:32 AM PDT
Hundreds of Los Angeles students walked out of classes Friday to protest proposed school cuts.Students from as many as 10 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District staged the unsanctioned walkouts. They say they're angry over cuts announced by the district to lay off hundreds of teachers and district staff.

"They knew that a crisis was going to come, it's not our fault that the crisis is here," said student Christian Lopez. "They're blaming it on the taxpayers, I blame it on the Federal Reserve."

The demonstration ended just before 11 a.m. The students marched across downtown Los Angeles to district headquarters.

"I think that it's not fair that teachers have worked so hard to get their degree so that it can be taken away, and because we are the future and we should come first, then other things," said student Jasmine Luna.

"If we wanted to get out of school we would have got out and gone somewhere else, we wouldn't have planned a hassle from walking all the way from Maple and Washington over here if we didn't want to be heard. We came for a reason," said student Jessica Aguirre.

The district has to cut about $130 million from its budget in six weeks. It's considering laying off close to 2,500 employees.

Officials insist the protests won't change the pending layoffs. LAUSD Superintendent Ray Cortines says the students ought to be in class.

"I think it's time that people understand that the economic downturn is affecting families in their home, it's affecting communities, it's not going to be helpful in doing things that are out of school," said Cortines.

Demonstrations like these student walkouts actually hurt the district even more. The district by the state gets paid when students go to class, so less students in class means less money for the schools.

A Superior Court judge barred teachers from staging a one-day work stoppage last week.

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