What Students Walking Out Over Covid Can Learn From Student Movements

Fed up with mandatory in-person school attendance policies that fail to keep them safe, students are marching out of classrooms and into the streets.

Last week, hundreds of students from over 30 public high schools in New York City walked out of class to protest the unsafe conditions in city schools. Despite the latest Covid-19 wave, during which over 38,000 students and teachers tested positive COVID, school officials have insisted on in-person classes. That same week, students from a group called the Chicago Public Schools Radical Youth Alliance (Chi-Rads), formed days prior, led a walkout followed by a protest at Chicago Public Schools headquarters. Their demands included masks, tests, laptops for remote learning, and a voice at the negotiating table for COVID safety plans.

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Student Leaders Call On Biden To Cancel Student Loan Debt

We, the undersigned 111 student government leaders representing over 1.4 million students, write to urge you to exercise your executive authority, as designated by the Higher Education Act of 1965, to cancel all federal student loan debt immediately.

As student leaders, we have seen the harrowing financial, social, and mental health impacts that the crushing weight of student loan debt imposes upon students and alumni by exacerbating the financial insecurity, social inequities, and economic stagnation which impacts over 44 million borrowers in the United States. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government recognized the burden of such debt on borrowers, pausing student loan repayments and lowering the interest rate to 0%.

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Strikes And Student Walkouts Spread Across US As Omicron Surges

Across the US, Omicron infections continue to explode, as “more children are being admitted to hospitals than ever before,” according to *CNN.* Vaccination rates among children remain low and community spread, accelerated by the holiday season and the return to in-person instruction, is rippling across the social terrain; hitting teachers, parents, and family members. In just the Los Angeles school district, “Approximately 65,000 students and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, according to mandatory testing conducted by the district during the winter break.” The drastic spike in COVID cases has also been coupled with increasing shortages of medical staff, which has hindered the ability of many people to get tested and receive medical attention.

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High Schoolers Walk Out Demanding Remote Learning During COVID Surge

Students at several high schools in New York City coordinated a walkout from classes on Tuesday to call for remote learning as they protest what they say are unsafe learning conditions inside school buildings as COVID cases surged just as the spring semester began last week.

A campaign mounted by students and activists across some of New York’s best-known high schools – including Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech and Stuyvesant – led to a walkout shortly before noon on Tuesday.

While precise numbers were not immediately available, organizers estimated hundreds of students participated, with about 400 students walking out at Brooklyn Tech alone.

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Oakland Students Petition For School District To Go To Remote Learning

Oakland, Calif. — Following a planned “sick-out” on Friday where more than 500 teachers across the Oakland Unified School District called out of work sick, hundreds of students within the district have come together in an online petition demanding increased COVID-19 protocols or else they’ll strike.

Students at schools in Oakland Unified School District are now demanding increased COVID-19 protocols and supplies.

If their demands are not met, they plan to boycott showing up for in-person classes.

“We are demanding KN95 masks for all of the students because they’re not easily accessible to them, twice a week PCR and rapid tests for everyone on campus and more outdoor spaces to eat safely when it rains or if the district doesn’t want to give this to us, we demand a shift to online learning,” said Ayleen Serrano who a 10th grader at MetWest High School in Oakland.

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An Ohio College Privatized Its Energy And Built A Gas Plant On Campus

About 40 students and activists march to the office of Ohio State University President Kristina Johnson on Sept. 24, 2021, demanding a halt to the construction of a $278 million gas power plant. “We will not give up,” Chandler Rupert, leader of the campus chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, blasts over a megaphone.

Columbus is Ohio’s capital and the fastest-growing city in the Midwest. And its climate action plan is aggressive. In 2020, the mayor announced a goal to go carbon neutral by 2050, and voters passed a Sierra Club-backed plan for 100% renewable energy by 2024. Some of Columbus’ large companies, which are exempt from these requirements, have opted into the city’s 100% renewables pilot.

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Low Wages And Exploitative Conditions Are Sparking Graduate Student Strikes

Many graduate students find themselves caught between these multiple fronts: burdened with past student debt, earning sub-living-wage pay in their present work and facing dwindling future opportunities. Universities have grown over-reliant on graduate students and other contingent faculty to maintain a pool of low-cost labor. But an upswell of organizing activity in the last year indicates that graduate students have been emboldened to take a collective stand against the precarity and untenable conditions that mar the academic experience in the U.S.

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Toronto High School Students Walk Out In Solidarity With Palestine

Let’s give credit to the roughly 200 brave students who walked out of Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute last month. They were protesting how the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has handled what it considers to be antisemitism within its schools.

They were fed up with the way their Board – supposed to represent them – puts the brakes on statements, information or discussions that might offend some members of the Jewish community in Toronto who regard certain criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic. As I mentioned in an article a month ago, the Board has simply adopted the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre (FSWC) website as its own when it comes to setting out rules for what is and what is not antisemitic in TDSB schools.

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Students Rally To Support Prison Moratorium

Massachusetts – Smith College students marched through the streets of downtown Northampton backed by a chorus of honking cars as they chanted, “We don’t want a prison nation, stop mass incarceration!” on Saturday, Dec. 4.

This march was in support of a moratorium on prison and jail construction within Massachusetts that was introduced in the Massachusetts state legislature. The bill was written by Families for Justice and Healing and the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, who, along with Massachusetts Peace Action, sponsored the walk. Smith students and volunteers from other prison abolition organizations in the area met at the Smith Campus Center and walked through downtown Northampton to the post office and then back to the Campus Center.

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Protests Demanding Affordable Housing Surge In The Netherlands

On Sunday, November 28, housing rights groups and other progressive sections in the Dutch city of Groningen marched under the banner #Woonstrijd to protest the acute housing crisis in the city. Various groups including Shelter Our Students (SOS), International Socialists Groningen, New Communist Party of the Netherlands (NCPN),  Communist Youth Movement (CJB), RED Groningen, Young Socialists Groningen, Democratic Academy Groningen, Groningen Feminist Network, and others, participated in the march while adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols. The protesters demanded a radical housing policy from the authorities which will be beneficial for all residents of the city.

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Student Strike Enters Second Week At Columbia University

Over 3,000 Columbia graduate student workers have been on strike since November 3. This is the latest in a series of actions by graduate students workers in universities across the US, many of which are extremely wealthy. The Columbia graduate student workers are demanding fair pay and healthcare benefits. The Student Workers of Columbia has been negotiating a contract with the university for more than four years now.

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Howard University Students Denounce Deplorable Living Conditions

As the student occupation of Howard University’s Blackburn Center has entered its fifth week, protesters have garnered significant support for their demands that administration at the historically black university immediately address deplorable living conditions.

In early October, students occupied the Blackburn Center to protest vermin infestations, mold, asbestos and other conditions overseen by the for-profit building management company Corvias. Students have camped outside the building in tents demanding that Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick convene a school-wide town hall meeting to discuss student and alumni representation on the Howard board of trustees, improved living conditions and freedom from legal and academic repercussions for student protesters.

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Students Are Pushing Colleges To Sever Ties With Military-Industrial Complex

The violence wreaked by U.S. wars since 9/11 has been immense — more than 929,000 total deaths, including an estimated 380,000 civilian deaths. And the U.S. has spent a staggering $14 trillion in Pentagon expenditures since the Afghanistan War in 2001, up to one-half of which went directly to defense contractors like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Raytheon.

While these facts are outrageous, they aren’t surprising in a country built on colonial violence — a country whose power and expansion are derived from war-making, with such militarism being grounded in every institution arising from the state, including education.

Students and young people are witnesses to the ways in which the U.S. education system is deeply complicit with war and militarism, and in increasing numbers we are demanding change.

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Howard University President Addresses Housing Issues

Amid a nearly month-long student protest, Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick attempted to correct course during a semiannual state-of-the-university address, acknowledging some of the issues that have sparked an ongoing occupation of a campus building.

“The current events that are taking place on campus are very important. I hear the concerns, I want to be absolutely clear about that,” Frederick said. “We apologize for anybody that was inconvenienced in any way, shape, or form.”

Originally slated to occur on Oct. 22, during Howard’s homecoming weekend, Frederick delayed the speech to Friday. With protests ongoing at the time — nearly 150 students were camped out near or inside the Blackburn Building — Frederick said it felt appropriate to postpone, so his remarks would not serve as a “counter-narrative” to students’ demands.

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University Of Puerto Rico Students Have Declared An Indefinite Strike

The first student general assembly 2021-2022 at the Rio Piedras campus of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) has announced an indefinite strike starting today, while other universities are on strike. The university students, who arrived on stage at the main campus for the UPR, made the decision in light of the academic, administrative, social and economic problems that the campus suffers from.

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