High school parents and students to gather at Free University at 11 as part of nationwide walkout
Our Schools NYC has posted a template letter for parents explaining why their children won’t be in school for May Day. The letter includes plans for meeting at Fort Greene Park for the May 1st HS Student WALKOUT Convergence as well as the Free University in Madison Square Park at 11 am.
Dear School teachers and staff,
[Student] won’t be in school on May 1 because she/he will be participating in a series of protests and teach-ins in support of worker and immigrant rights that are part of “A Day Without the 99%.”
As you know, May 1 has long been a day of action in support of international workers’ rights, and we continue that tradition as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. This year we specifically protest a government that bails out big banks and offers tax breaks to large corporations while individuals lose their jobs, their homes and their access to basic human rights, such as public education and healthcare.
We want to be clear that we are not protesting against this school or any other public school. Instead, we protest on your behalf. We understand that the New York City Department of Education has cut over 1,000 teachers’ aides positions in under five years and given up hundreds of teaching positions to attrition. We also know that New York City public school budgets have been slashed more than 14% in the past five years, leading to ballooning class sizes and diminishing programs. Our teachers now have more students and less help in the classroom. As a family, and as a community, we march for you – our teachers and administration that take the education of our children so seriously. We also march on behalf of all city workers and others who have been so deeply affected by Bloomberg’s austerity measures.
While [Student] won’t be in the school building that day, she’ll/he’ll be heavily engaged in education, exploring the history and practice of change-making in the United States. She/he will have access to oral histories and documents that will further enrich her/his understanding of politics, history and math. And most importantly, she/he will contribute in her/his own way to the political process in this country – direct democracy played out in its truest form – in the streets. We hope that you choose not to mark Student absent that day because of this, but we understand if you choose to do so.
Either way, I believe that participating will not only give [Student] the chance to witness history, but will give her/him the chance to stand in solidarity with teachers, police, documented and undocumented workers, whose labor has been exploited and dishonored by the establishment for far too long. I believe that taking her/him this coming Tuesday is as important a civic duty as the many times I have taken her/him with me to the voting booth.
We also invite you to join us on this day. Parents and students will gather at The Free University in Madison Square Park at 11 a.m. We will continue to Union Square for a rally at 4:30 p.m.