DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – About 50 high school students who walked out of the all-boys Frederick Douglass Academy in Detroit to protest over the teaching staff, the removal of the principal and other issues, were suspended on Thursday.
Parents organized the walkout out of concern for the future of the school, which has about 200 students in grades six to 12. This year, as recently as last month, students spent weeks passing time in the gym after about half of the school’s teachers called in sick for several days, parents told the Detroit Free Press.
One parent told the paper that her son got an A in geometry first semester without taking a final exam. “It was by default, just for showing up. It wasn’t because he earned an A,” she said.
High school students say they’re months behind the syllabus for classes, especially math.
“We’ve been wronged and disrespected and lied to and cheated,” said Tevin Hill, a senior who made the announcement to start the walkout. “They didn’t listen to us when we complained to the administration. They didn’t listen to the parents when they complained to the administration, so I guess this is the only way to get things solved.”
The Detroit Public Schools administration started using part of the building in January, it wasn’t listed as an application school for fall, and founding principal Sean Vann was reassigned Wednesday after returning from sick leave.
School board member David Murray attended the protest, saying students “need to take a stand” because officials are failing to assure them an adequate education.
Parents are currently circulating a petition to take to the district to demand enforcement of the “abuse of sick time” policy to reduce teacher absenteeism.
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