Students who attend Milwaukee Public Schools have formed a campaign called the Students Bill of Rights after a mass student walkout at ALAS High School in October. Student activist from YES! (Youth Empowerment Struggle) organized the walkout because of all the heavy budget cuts to MPS. Out of 215 students, 195 students walked out of ALAS high school. ALAS suffered from lack of funding for bilingual education, prison-like security issues, overcrowded classrooms, and a school administration that ignored the voice of the students. So they formed a Student Bill of Rights. View the Student Bill of Rights here.
Yesterday, a little more than a year after the walk-out at ALAS High school, 42 different Milwaukee Public Schools (more than 400 students) met at UW-Milwaukee to at the ACLU Youth Social Justice Forum to learn how to organize around each specific issue on the Student Bill of Rights. The League of Young Voters, Urban Underground, Pathfinders, and Public Allies facilitated different trainings to the high school students.
A team of eight League organizers facilitated a training of 60 students on how to run a campaign about the issues that was most important to them listed on the Student Bill of Rights. I had a great time working with the students and hearing the different struggles they go through in high school. The students were passionate about making change in their schools and was eager to learn how to do it. The students came up with action plans that would make the decision makers have to listen to them. Glad to see young people not only standing up and speaking up, but taking action to see change in their schools.
By Nisha Martin