1975.06.01: New York Students Protest School Conditions (Red Tide)

NY Schools

Red Tide #16
June 1975

New York Students Protest School Conditions
[By Michael Letwin]

New York—Students here are protesting the repressive rules dealing with attendance and tardiness as well as the poor quality of the school food.

19 ARRESTED

“They run this school like a prison,” said Ralph Montanez, a student at Clinton High School. Because of the poor conditions[,] several hundred students from Clinton held a two-hour walkout and marched to the all-women’s Walton High to gain support for their demands. In this process[,] 19 students were arrested. Six of the students were held on disorderly conduct charges and one with possession of a gun.

The new rules also say that the students must have written notes from their parents in order to pass a class[,] [in] which they have “unusually high absences.”

HOW TO RUN SCHOOLS

A demonstration also took place at the all-women’s Prospect High School in Brooklyn, demanding that similar rules be dropped. The students there wanted other things also. As the principal, Robert Couche, put it, “They want to smoke in the cafeteria. They want to smoke because the teachers smoke. And, we can’t run a school like that.” No, of course we couldn’t have that, Mr. Couche!

The students also wanted to be able to go and come to school as they wanted to, instead of being locked up in a prison. Couche said that the idea was “totally unreasonable” and that it would interfere with the “proper administration of the school.”

[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See: http://theredtide.wordpress.com/]

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