Hundreds of students at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville staged a walkout Tuesday morning to protest proposed budget cuts that include teacher layoffs and curriculum changes.
Students marched around the high school building during an advisory period (think homeroom) Tuesday morning before congregating in front of the school's main entrance. Students huddled in groups chanting "Save our teachers," and "Save our schools," while others held signs in support of teachers.
"We want to make it clear to the school board that we are not OK with cutting a lot of the teachers," said Mike Kelley, a 17-year-old senior from Algonquin who urged students to attend Monday night's special school board meeting.
Mike said because there will be fewer teachers, electives such as foreign languages and industrial education are at risk of elimination. That would adversely affect students' opportunities for colleges and potential careers, he said.
"They are helpful to a lot of students," Mike said. "It's the only escape from math, science and English where you can learn something really vocational. They help students build specific interests found within the basic classes."
Others, like junior Jose Aguilera, said their education was being attacked because of a financial situation the district cannot control.
"We want to tell administrators not to fire our teachers because the state is not paying for our education," said Jose, who lives in Carpentersville. "Our electives are at risk and that is taking college opportunities away from us."
Aguilera held a sign supporting industrial education teacher Nicholas Linden, who told students he was laid off.
Dundee-Crown Principal Lynn McCarthy, said while the school is supportive of students' social awareness, students need to focus their attentions on the school board and not the school.
"The decisions are not coming from the building," McCarthy said. "The board needs to look districtwide at what cuts need to be done."
McCarthy also added that future protests would not be tolerated.
"Today was OK because it didn't cut into class time," McCarthy said. "But we don't want to see this every day."