March 12, 2016

High school students show how to organize

Popular Resistance - Hours before more than 3,500 of their peers would march out of their classrooms toward Boston Common, a small group of high schoolers was glued to a group chat on their phones. It was 3 a.m., and they needed to make sure everything was ready for the district-wide protest they’d spent the past week organizing.

Were the posters finished? Yes. Was the meeting place finalized? Yes. Did they all promise that, no matter what, they would leave their classrooms at 11:30 a.m.?

“There’s this stereotype that young kids don’t know what we’re doing and should let adults handle things because it’s their fight more than ours,” said Jahi Spaloss, a senior at Boston Green Academy. “But we’re the ones in school. This fight is ours.”

Ever since thousands of high schoolers marched through the streets of Boston to protest impending public school budget cuts, some city officials — including Mayor Marty Walsh — have claimed that such a massive form of social unrest couldn’t possibly have been organized by a bunch of kids. Some officials have even claimed the protest was actually organized by unions working behind the scenes. But the students are adamant: It was their idea, and their idea alone.

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