NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Some students from three Newark high schools have walked out of class to protest the state’s control of New Jersey’s largest school district.
Students from Science Park High School, Arts High School and Central High School were joined by community activists and parents as they left their classes Tuesday.
The walkout is the latest in an ongoing protest of the school system. Some parents are also holding students out of class.
Activists say they want the state to hand over control to a local school board for the first time in nearly two decades.
Speaking in Camden on Tuesday, Gov. Chris Christie says the students who walked out have “no basis for their actions” and said they were being led by “selfish adults.”
“Because of the superintendent’s continued ignorance toward the community, we’ve warned her and we’re trying to let her know like the voice of the students and the voice of the parents are important and shouldn’t be ignored,” Roberto Cabanas told 1010 WINS.
Cabanas, an organizer at New Jersey Communities United, said Superintendent Cami Anderson has failed them.
“We’re not going to support any transitions that will reinstate this superintendent who has failed us miserably, who doesn’t even come to public board meetings,” Cabanas said. “We’re not going to compromise with the superintendent, we’re not going to compromise with the governor until we get full local control of the schools.”
The most recent anger was set off by problems with a new One Newark enrollment system last week that has families rank their preferences for public or private schools across the city rather than just attend the nearest school.
But highly sought-after schools filled up quickly. In some cases, like for McLean, only one child got assigned to a school while two others are waiting to be placed.
“If they pick three different schools for them, I have to do three drop-offs and try to make it to work,” she said. “It’s hard for a working parent.”
On the first day of the system, offices were understaffed and hundreds of families were turned away.
Parents waited in line for hours to enroll their students.
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