New York

Hundreds of Bayonne High School Students Walk Out to Protest District Layoffs

The district cut 261 teaching jobs at a board meeting Wednesday night

Hundreds of students walked out of classes at Bayonne High School on Thursday morning to protest district-wide layoffs approved by the school board the night before.

An estimated 200 to 300 kids walked out around 9:15 a.m., a school official told News 4 New York. Video posted by the school's student government on Twitter shows massive crowds milling about, chanting and blocking an intersection. 

The school's principal and the town's mayor tried to quiet the crowds, apparently to no avail.

Bayonne Principal and Mayor
Bayonne High School Principal Richard Baccarella and Mayor Jimmy Davis try to calm students after a walkout to protest district-wide layoffs.

On Wednesday night, amid a budget crisis, the school board voted to eliminate 261 teaching positions and a number of support staff, reported.

While the school board president promised that two-thirds of the teachers would be rehired, according to the report, it was not enough to stop the students from protesting Thursday. 

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"I'm losing my math teacher, my history teacher and my gym teacher," said Sultan Ahman.

"We care about them. They are our mentors, we tell them about our problems," said Elmer Beltran. 

Mayor Jimmy Davis, surprised by both the protest and the layoffs, said state auditors are now examining the district's books. 

"It's ridiculous that our students had to come out here today to point the finger at us and say, 'What's going on with our education?'" he said. 

The layoffs are scheduled to go into effect after the school year. 

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