More than one thousand students, parents, teachers and Occupy Wall Street protesters rallied in New York City on Thursday at a vote over the closing of two dozen public schools. The protesters, under the umbrella group Occupy the DOE, tried to stop the vote from happening. Using the human microphone, the protesters disrupted the meeting at times but were unsuccessful in stopping the closing of 23 schools. New York public school teacher Brian Jones and high school student Tafador Saurov helped organize the protests.
Brian Jones: “What we really need is real democracy, and unfortunately, what we have right now is mayoral dictatorship over the schools. So, they close the schools, they do whatever they want, and nobody gets any say. None of the teachers get a say, no parents get a say, and students certainly don’t get a say. We have to interrupt them with mic checks just to be heard.”
Tafador Saurov: “I’m here tonight because the panel for educational policy, a panel of Bloomberg’s puppets, is here to close down as many high schools as they can in the process of neoliberal education reform to open up privatized charter schools. This is a direct and racially motivated attack on our communities, and we came here tonight to shut it down.”