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Students Protest In Support Of Teachers

UPDATED: 5:04 pm PDT March 14, 2008

RANCHO BERNARDO, Calif. -- A brother and sister at Rancho Bernardo High School organized a school protest Friday in support of teachers who could lose their jobs due to state budget cuts.

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Aaron Nigro, a senior at the school, said he and his sister Chris wanted to do something to show their anger and frustration over the situation.

Aaron said he was inspired by one of his teachers who stands to lose his job.

"He has a daughter and a family of his own. Now the governor has pretty much fired (him)," he told NBC 7/39. "The main goal of this was that hopefully, it will reach the governor… we don't want to be robbed of our education," Nigro said.

Students staged a peaceful walkout. With signs in hand, they stood in front of the entrance to the school.

Co-organizer, Carissa Nigro, a freshman, said the protest was a way for students to express their emotions about the ordeal. She said for her, increased class sizes are her biggest concern.

"I'm struggling as it is. I think it would be harder for us to get A's and get the one-on-one attention we need," if class sizes grow, she said.

Principal Paul Robinson said he admired the support the students have shown for their teachers.

"Our students are fantastic. They really care about their teachers. They're hurt, they're angry… it says a lot about our teachers because they care about our students too," Robinson told NBC 7/39.

Rancho Bernardo High School is part of the Poway Unified School District -- 106 teachers in that district have received pink slips.

"We’re too young to vote. This is our way of standing up for our teachers," said Aaron.

Robinson said their school stands to lose 28 out of 126 teachers. They would soon be receiving notices that there is no guarantee they'll have a contract in the fall, he said.

Ursula Kroemer, of the San Diego Unified School District, said that 903 people will receive layoff notices by mail and those will be going out starting Thursday.

In East County, the Grossmont Union High School District is getting ready to send pink slips to about 97 of the 1,100 teachers who work for the district.

Legislators React

NBC 7/39 spoke with several legislators regarding the crisis.

Republican Assembly member Martin Garrick of the 74th District said he's been working with schools to create more flexibility in their budgets and find more ways to save.

Democratic Assembly member Lori Saldana of the 76th District said the state needs to close tax loopholes and start bringing-in more revenue.

But both agree that it would be difficult to take money from other services that may already be underfunded.

"We have a grandparent taking care of a grandchild, and they receive some money to help with that. Suddenly we're telling them we're cutting those few dollars you receive for yourself as a senior in a low-income situation and we're also cutting the amount receive for your grandchild," she said.

Legislators said they are hearing the public outcry to support schools and they suggest writing to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Students Protest In Support Of Teachers - Education News Story - KNSD | San Diego

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