State prepares for school protest

March 3, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
All over the Bay Area and all over the state, Thursday will be a day of protest. Students, parents, and teachers will be seen and heard. They will demonstrate against state cuts to education from kindergarten to college.

The main rallies will be in San Francisco and Oakland, but people all over, including at UC Berkeley, are getting ready for the massive protest.

The words are clear, bold, and to the point.

"March 4th for public schools," said Tania Kappner reading a homemade sign.

There is a statewide call for action and in the Oakland teachers' union office Wednesday night, teachers got ready for Thursday's fight outside the classroom.

"My school, Oakland Tech, is facing a $1 million cut. This is totally unacceptable," said Kappner.

School districts leaders, teachers, parents, and students even as young as kindergarten, will participate in the March 4 events. Statewide, protests, marches, and rallies will begin early in the morning and last all day.

"We are a majority who will no longer be silent," said Louise Fortmann, a UC Berkeley professor.

And at UC Berkeley Wednesday night, students and faculty gathered at Wheeler Hall for an educational forum. Professors explained why the crisis exists and how students can bring about change peacefully.

No one wants a repeat of Friday's on campus riots, when angry protestors, upset about tuition hikes, took over Durant Hall. Now both campus and Berkeley police say, they are ready for anything.

"We had protestors here Friday morning of last week and certainly the outcome of those protests shaped how we'll be responding to tomorrow's protests," said Berkeley police Officer Andrew Frankel.

Police will not release specifics; they will only say that extra officers will be working Thursday. Non violence is also being stressed at a tent city at De Anza College in Cupertino. Organizers want protesters to carpool to San Francisco to participate in the day's marches.

"For every 50 students that's expected from De Anza to have security, a bus leader, or a person who's in charge of a carpool, like a driver," said Joseph Certez, a De Anza College student.

Cal student Maggie Karoff is not just protesting on campus, she is also going to Sacramento.

"I think it affects everyone and I think that this is an opportunity for us to stand up because I think people are listening," said Karoff.

The Berkeley Student Association is also stressing non violence. An email went out to students Wednesday with guidelines on how to avoid problems and protest safely.


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