West High Students Walk Out In Protest

Jennifer Welch (11), Writer

Today, West High students held a walk-out to protest the upcoming budget cuts and the changes that students will face next year. For about twenty minutes, students congregated outside the school, spoke with journalists and listened to student speakers.

The new budget was passed for the Torrance Unified School District after a meeting on Monday, March 1st. This budget reflects the $27.6 million dollar cuts that must be made. Chris Partida(12), who carried a sign during the walk-out that stated “We are the Future. Save our Schools,” believes this will negatively affect the quality of education for future generations, such as his little sister, Emily.

In order to compensate, the district must cut, as stated in an email sent by the Torrance Superintendent of Schools, Dr. George Mannon, “…185 positions…[including], 121 K-12 teachers, four high school counselors, one adult education teacher, nineteen full-time para educators, one elementary assistant principal, 0.4 site clerical staff, and 38.6 central administration personnel. Of the 38.6 central administration staff, six are administrators, 1.6 are supervisory/confidential staff, one program specialist, nine classified clerical positions, six maintenance/operations staff, ten classified custodians, and five classified campus security personnel.”

These cuts in district employees will cause class sizes to grow next year, and added pressure on the already hard-working TUSD staff. Andrew Yu(9) says that the enlarged class sizes makes him “concerned about not getting help personally.” Additionally, many school programs are being cut, as well as several high-school languages offered. Once cut, these programs may never be offered again, and students, parents, and staff across the district are upset about these changes.

At the walk-out, Waye Hong(12) held a sign that stated “Kick Reasons to the Curb.” His mom is a teacher who was fired due to the budget cuts, and now he feels empathy for current teachers facing a similar situation.

Alisa Wang(10) told an ABC7 reporter, “We [the students] are the future of our state.” She thinks that the state needs education reform to help students learn better.

On the other hand, there were students who were not as enthusiastic about the walk-out. Yesol Go(9) “It’s messy; the students just want to be out of class. We’re doing nothing, no one’s trying.” Similarly, Julie Kim(11) believes, “I don’t think this is an effective way to protest. [Some] don’t know why they’re here.”

Even though there are opposing views about the effectiveness of the walk-out, Kenneth Wu(12), thinks that the demonstration was “a great experience. There is unity between West High students.”