On March 1st, the National Student Day of Action, students at Northwestern High School in Prince George’s County, Md. were ready to stand up for their right to a decent education.
Hundreds of students had committed to walk out in protest of unsanitary school conditions, budget cuts, classroom sizes, etc. They were also demanding an apology for the over 1,400 international teachers whose jobs had been cut and visas deniedafter the teachers themselves had taken a stand against H1B visa violations last year.
Last April 2011, after Prince George’s County Public School System was investigated and found a willful violator of the H1B program, international teachers mobilized around the issue as the school system refused to renew their visas. Unfortunately, the teachers bore the brunt of this battle and became victims of the Dept. of Labor’s decision to debar PGCPS. The aftermath of the teachers’ struggle and campaign against unjust labor practices also revealed that their students suffered due to the DOL ruling as well.
The fact that these students valued their education so much as to organize this large action to improve their situation is impressive in itself. That their list of proposed demands included an official apology from the administration for the wrongs their teachers had suffered shows these future leaders can see the interconnected issues and systemic problems in their educational system as well and understand that an injustice to one is an injustice to all.
The students’ plans were squashed before the actual walk-out took place, but the sentiment of solidarity the students felt for the teachers caught up in the same, broken education system still resonates strongly. Although the judgement that led to the firing and deportation of several teachers came down last summer, this action by the students of Northwestern High School proves that the fight for justice never ends.
Check out these links to learn more about the student walkout that was planned for National Student Action Day: