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300 Chicago High School Students Stage Sit-in

This is an article from the Chicago Tribune, does any one know more about this, can anyone cover it?
The determination and strength of these kids to stand up to the Chicago public schools is admirable. We should find out more about their demands, contact the kids leading the protests, and support their valiant efforts to change the public school system. College students should support this struggle of fellow students. Please forward this article to all relevant listserves. I've already forwarded it to student groups at the University of Chicago and the Student Labor Action Project. DePaul? Northwestern? Loyola? UIC? High School Students? Also, Indymedia people should drive up to the school to find out what is really going on.

Dan LB

Amundsen students make some headway in meeting with principal

By Rick Hepp
Tribune staff reporter
Chicago Tribune
Published March 12, 2002

Amundsen High School seniors may not have gotten everything they wanted, but after holding sit-ins Friday and Monday they finally presented the principal with their list of demands, including a shorter school day for some students.

About 300 seniors sat for four hours Friday in the school auditorium after refusing to attend class after homeroom period. They came to school Monday ready to resume their protest if the principal wouldn't meet with them, said senior Larry Stines.

But Pauline Tarvardian, principal at Amundsen, 5110 N. Damen Ave., who was not in school Friday, spoke with the students for four hours about their concerns.

"We expected to run into a lot of barriers, and we were willing to sit in there all day," Stines said. "But the administration reacted more positively than we expected."

The seniors said that students who have completed everything but their core curriculum courses should be able to attend school part time. They also want better career counseling and increased student representation on the local school council, among other issues.

During the discussion, Tarvardian told the class that under state law the school must provide students with 300 minutes of instruction per day, even if they only have to complete their core classes to graduate. But the principal told them she would think about bringing back a work-study program that allows students to work a part-time job for school credit.

Tarvardian said she would also look into reassigning two of the six school counselors, who each guide about 250 students, to deal specifically with college counseling.

Though they made some headway on their demands, the seniors plan to continue their fight. They may go to Springfield to lobby the General Assembly to change the law on the amount of time a student must spend in the classroom. They also plan to attend Tuesday's local school council meeting and will talk in coming weeks with underclassmen.

"It took us four years to get the courage to do something like this," said senior Irma Porcic. "We want [the underclassmen] to know what's going on, and we want them to keep trying to make a change."



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