Early this morning, students in the Philadelphia School District began walking out their school buildings as part of a student strike in support of their teachers. On Monday – one day after World Teachers Day – the Philadelphia School Reform Commission took the unprecedented move of calling a surprise meeting for the sole purpose of cancelling the teachers’ contract in order to imposed their political agenda of raiding the teachers’ Health and Welfare fund and forcing teachers to pay into their health care coverage. Following the SRC’s 17-minute meeting with no public discussion before the vote, teachers were first shocked then enraged by their actions.
It seems that the SRC’s actions did more than enrage teachers. On Monday, students began calling for a student strike on October 8 – today – in support of their teachers. This is how students described the purpose of today’s action:
In light of the recent PFT contract drop, teachers around the district are talking about going on strike. This is exactly what Corbett wants them to do. If and when teachers go on strike the administration can point and say, “Look at the teachers look at what they’re doing to the students.” We students cannot allow this to happen.
On Wednesday, October 8th students around the district will not go to school. We’re striking because every single teacher in the district’s benefits are at risk and being played with through politics. We will most likely be asked to disperse and go to school but if we show up in large enough numbers our chances of holding our ground will be higher. If police or other officials react with violence we will not respond. This is a peaceful protest. By the way Wednesday is a half-day. STUDENTS DO NOT SWIPE INTO SCHOOL TOMORROW THIS WILL MARK YOU AS PRESENT AND IF YOU LEAVE THEN YOU ARE SKIPPING SCHOOL.
Tweet #PhlEd and #StudentsForTeachers get the word out people
Beginning early this morning, students began showing up outside of their schools with picket signs in numbers larger than most casual observers expected. Raging Chicken Press’s Sean Kitchen left for Philly early this morning and will be sending updates as the event unfolds [UPDATE: Sean is not able to get to strikes locations before he has to work].
You can follow the live Twitter feed right here:
In the meantime, check out some highlights of the first hours of the strike right here: Storify of #StudentsForTeachers Strike