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Friday, April 27, 2012

Students Wanting Better Education Starts Their Own School

Students suspended for walking out of class at Detroit's Western International High School earlier this week to protest school closures and demand a better education, are holding a "freedom school" Friday in Clark Park, across the street from their official school building.
Students left class Wednesday morning toprotest the closing of Southwestern High School, which many fear would lead to overcrowding at Western, and to demand more resources and greater teacher engagement for the district's schools.
Southwestern's nearly 600 students will be offered space at Western International and Northwestern high schools next year, according to the district.
Detroit Board of Education member Elena Herrada told the Detroit News that up to 180 students were suspended from Western and Southwestern high schools following Wednesday's action. Detroit Public Schools spokesman Steven Wasko told The Huffington Post about 100 students were suspended for five days following the walkout.
School officials at Western did not return repeated requests for comment.
Wasko said concerns about a potential lack of supplies at Western are unfounded. "Western was one of the schools with top scholarships awards, coming in after Renaissance and Cass" high schools for the 2010-11 school year, securing more than $13.9 million in grants and scholarships.
One Western student told The Huffington Post she could be facing more than a suspension. Raychel Gafford, 17, said she has been singled out by school authorities for her vocal role in the walkout and that the district's police have indicated she may face unspecified charges.
Gafford said students are organizing the freedom school for the same reasons they walked out. "We're sticking together and we're not backing down from this," she said. "We were thrown out of school for fighting for an equal education and we're doing this to show we're still going to be learning even if we got kicked out of school."

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