Students at Point Loma High Staged Walk-Out in Support of Laid-off Teachers

by on June 11, 2012 · 9 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Education, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Popular, San Diego

Screen capture from Fox5 News of PLHS walk-out, June 6, 2012.

One of the great under-reported local stories occurred last Wednesday, June 6th. While the rest of San Diego and the country mulled over the Primary election results, students at Point Loma High School staged a boisterous and energetic walk-out in support of their laid-off teachers.

We at the OB Rag are also guilty of simply being out of the loop on this one – as we also failed to publish anything about this huge and rare occurrence – and we publicly apologize to the students and teachers at Point Loma HS.

As it turns out, either 24 or 25 teachers at the high school received pink slips.  A pink slip is a layoff notice to teachers  informing them that their contracts would possibly not be renewed come September. And on Wednesday, a number of their fellow teachers wore pink to school. When students found out what the “pink” stood for, they were galvanized into action.

From over a thousand to 3,000 students walked out of their classes that morning right after 9:00. They streamed out of their classes, filling Chatsworth Boulevard and the nearby church grounds, chanting, yelling, whooping, and waving at the passing cars honking in support.  A the students congregated on both sides of the street, campus police were augmented by San Diego police.

A couple of local TV stations did cover the action, and picked up quotes of those involved. Junior Stephanie Hernandez told  10 News:

“A lot of our English teachers are leaving and they’re really good teachers and we love them. They have helped us in every way possible, but now we have to help them. We just want the school board to understand that and see that our school is not just any school. We need our teachers to be the school we are today.”

10th grader Irvin Flores explained to Fox 5 News :

“We pretty much ditched class. It’s not good but then it’s not good letting our teachers go either, so we had to fight.”

Special Education teacher Patti Hanan was quoted:

Almost all of our counselors and many people in the office got pink slips. Our students are showing their support of their teachers being laid off.

Point Loma High School Principal Bobbie Samilson stated:

We’ve been affected by the budget crisis and our students are very concerned about their teachers.”

Channel 10 reported that, “a  few hundred of the protesters broke away from the pack and marched a couple of miles to Correia Middle School, where more teachers are on the chopping block.”

This was confirmed by Fox 5, which reported: “About 300 kids broke away from the group and marched a mile and a half to Correa Middle School. The middle school principal was notified of the mass demonstration and locked the gates, according to students.”

Mainstream Media Allow Rock to Over Shadow Protest by Thousands of Young People

Then what happened next was used by one TV station to over shadow everything else. Here is how they reported it:

As students returned to class, someone threw a rock at a police cruiser, and a San Diego Unified police officer told 10News they suspected the person who threw the rock was a student.  Cellphone video obtained by 10News shows a student wearing a pink jacket throwing a rock that shattered a window on the cruiser.  As of early Wednesday evening, no one has been arrested in connection with the incident.

Their headline yelled: “Rock Shatters Police Cruiser’s Window During School Protest” and their story had the lede: “A peaceful protest was tarnished Wednesday morning after someone hurled a rock through a police cruiser’s window.”

Fox 5 reported:

As most of the crowd headed back to class, some students started throwing rocks at SDPD patrol cars, authorities said. The students involved were identified through cell phone video and were suspended for their actions, school officials said.

It is so important for young people to be involved in our civic life, and to an old alum of PLHS to see hundreds if not thousands of students from Point Loma High demonstrating in support of their teachers makes me have a warm glow. It is great to see so many taking part in this protest and getting active at my old alma matar. For a TV station then to allow several rocks thrown by a handful to overshadow the protest of many is really an insult to the youth themselves and an insult to the truth.

Editor: If anyone involved in last week’s protest wish to have their side of the story broadcast, just contact us at

Meanwhile, Lincoln High Students Storm Out of Classes to Protest Teacher Lay-Offs Last Friday, June 8th

Lincoln HS Protest Channel 10 News

At least 100 students at Lincoln High School stormed out of class Friday morning and onto the streets around campus to protest recent teacher layoffs.

San Diego police were at the scene as the upset students rallied in support of 32 of their best teachers, who were among the 1,500 teachers given pink slips by the San Diego Unified School District.

While parents encouraged the students to return to class, many refused and marched down the streets while being escorted by police. The students insisted the reason for the march was about education.

SD Unified officials said the layoffs are devastating and will drive up class sizes, but are necessary due to deep budget cuts by the state.

Rallies to try and save teachers’ jobs have been going on around San Diego for months. While most have been peaceful, a rally at Point Loma High School earlier this week got out of hand after someone — possibly a student — hurled a rock through a police cruiser’s window.

There were no reports of violence at Lincoln High School, though students say they are furious that the teachers they love are being let go.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Ernie McCray June 11, 2012 at 2:42 pm

It’s good to see kids actively learning about and being concerned about their world at a local level; that often leads to larger concerns and that’s what education is all about.


Anna Daniels June 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Students love their teachers and are grateful for their presence? These kids obviously haven’t gotten the message yet that teachers are greedy overpaid public fund bloodsuckers. Youth.


doug porter June 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm

yay! PLHS 68


mike turco June 11, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Whats wrong with the teachers are their unions. Society loves their teachers and will pay them well if they warrant it. Meanwhile the uniforms, badges and guns are taking all the money.


Frank Gormlie June 12, 2012 at 8:35 am

What’s wrong with our society is that we keep blaming unions, those pesky unions, you know, the groups that brought us the weekend, the 8 hour day, workday breaks, you know, just about the only organized groups that have enough resources to counter the wealthy, the corporations running amok under Citizens United, and the extremists on the right that wish to take this country back to the Gilded Age, the days of the robber-barons. Oh, we’re almost there ….. then, it’s up to the kids, the youth to pull us back from the precipice. Apparently these students wanted to stand up for their teachers and the teachers’ union enough to walk-out. Bravo students of PLHS, bravo!


judi Curry June 11, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The product that we teachers deal with cannot be “recalled” if we – the teacher – don’t put in all the parts. Our product – the student – does not get to come back for that recalled part like a missing spark plug. Teachers need to do it right the first and only time they get a chance. Students today are aware of the necessity of an education. I shudder to think what the youth of today will be like as adults tomorrow. I hope the student protests were honest; not another “ditch” day. Teachers need all the support they can get, because working in a classroom is not a 9-5 job. The end result is too important for apathy.


Goatskull June 12, 2012 at 10:08 am

As I have said before in other posts about the future of education, I know several people (who I went to high school with) who finally threw their hands in the air and simply gave up the teaching profession. They are tired of dealing with cuts and constant threats of pinks slips or actually getting pink slips but then being called back to work. They have such a pessimistic view of the future that they feel there won’t be anything in the long run for the students anyway. So much so they’ve even opted not to have kids of their own. I can only imagine that a growing number of teachers are following suit or thinking about it. While this can have consequences of its own perhaps this will be a wakeup call to the powers that be (the idea that there will be a teacher shortage).
I agree with Judi in the hopes that these students are protesting out of a true heartfelt belief in the cause and not just an excuse to get out of class for the day. I was 16 once.


Robslow June 13, 2012 at 9:33 am

Realy. The teachers and us dont make enough too servive . Look at administraters that make 160 grand a year. and we have many of them. How do they support teaching and learnig in the class room. Pull your heads out of your you know what……….


William Swim September 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm

I am a current student of PLHS, and can personally say that half the kids who walked out, just wanted to skip school, it is a little rediculous though that almost all the teachers who were being threatened to lose there job, were really and i mean really good teachers. Im graduating this year, and am not looking forward to the future


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