Updated 03/12/2012 06:00 PM
Williamson High School Students Protest Budget Cuts
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The group of Williamson High School students should be in school. They're not, because they're suspended.
"About 24 kids got together and sat in the auditorium to protest,” said Trenton Beck.
The students held a sit-in against possible budget cuts.
"We sat on the stage, peacefully. Didn't say anything, didn't swear. Just sat there with our shirts on. They came in and told us we were going to be suspended for five days out of school,” said Alex Shumski.
Williamson Central Schools have lost $3 million in state aid over the past two budget years. The budget process is ongoing.
Students say teachers shouldn't lose their jobs when cuts are considered.
"They tell us they're doing everything they can to get a student the most education possible; then they go cut some of the best teachers we have,” said Shumski.
What drove their protest more than anything is a science and physics teacher who the students believe is being forced out.
"They'll spend tons of money on chairs, new monitors, iPads for teachers and stuff, but they can't keep one of the best teachers there. It's complete idiocracy," said Beck.
"It's not the stuff they get us that makes the quality of the classroom. It's the teacher that matters,” said Keanu Buda.
Williamson's superintendent of schools says the teacher in question is leaving, but resigned on his own, and that the departure has nothing to do with budget cuts.
The district released a statement Monday morning saying it will follow its own code of conduct in dealing with the students. Any action taken by the superintendent of schools will be based on recommendations from the Williamson High School principal.
Of the two dozen students who took part in the sit in, 17 were suspended. Many of them say they'll continue to try and get their point across at the next school board meeting Wednesday in Williamson.