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Boston students protest on Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education

Boston Public Schools student, Bruno Koppel prepared a video to support the planned walkout of thousands of BPS students on May 17 in protest of the city’s school budget cuts and planned closing of more than a dozen schools. Video Courtesy Bruno Koppel/Youtube

Updated: Boston Public Schools students plan to walk out of class at on Tuesday at 1 p.m., marking the 62nd anniversary of the landmark education case Brown V. Board of Education, while protesting school budget cuts and the planned closing of at least two dozen city schools.

“Where a State has undertaken to provide an opportunity for an education in its public schools, such an opportunity is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.” – Chief Justice Earl Warren, Brown v. Board of Education

This is the second highly organized protest by Boston Public Schools (BPS) students who first walked out of class by the thousands on March 7 in protest of the school committee’s Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Budget that cut programs, staff and extra-curricular activities available throughout the city. The controversial budget was announced in a letter from Superintendent Tommy Chang in January, whereby the school department head defined dwindling revenue streams, climbing costs and declines in student enrollment as necessitators.

“Boston Public Schools is facing a nearly $30 million structural deficit due in large part to rising fixed costs, including $21 million in salary and benefit increases. When coupled with unforeseen costs and important investments in core operations, past commitments, and strategic priorities, the district’s projected budget gap rises to $40-50 million. As a result, the entire district is forced to make difficult choices,” Chang wrote.

The result was an adjustment to the weighted student funding formula and expected cuts of $10-$12 million. The superintendent went on to say that school closings would not be exacted during the current budget cycle. “Closing schools must be a deliberate process based on equity of access and student needs,” Chang said.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh in an interview with WBZ said he encouraged students to stay in school. Walsh wasn’t pleased with adults who were supporting the student protests. “A lot behind the kids walking out are some adults and I wish that they would be more responsible and not put kids in harms way,” Walsh said.

Students organized the protest and planned walkout via social media channels using the Twitter hashtags#WhytheWalkout and #BPSWalkout, created a Facebook Page and event. The event, May 17 Walkout to Save Our Public Schools, had 1.4 thousand individuals signed up to participate as of Tuesday morning.

Note: At approximately 2 p.m. the link to the student Facebook event, May 17 Walkout to Save Our Public Schools was no longer active. Users were met with a message stating, “Sorry, this page isn’t available. The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed.”

This article originally appeared on Examiner.com on May 17, 2016. 

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