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Marzullo: Providence School Walkout Raises Question, Is Anyone in Charge?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

 

Vincent Marzullo

The recent public acknowledgement by Providence’s new School Superintendent that he would take minimal action (an unexcused absence) against an organized large scale high school student walk-out this Friday is both shocking and troubling.  Providence high school students are being encouraged to leave school at 11AM and proceed to the State House to protest the proposed policies of the in-coming Trump administration. 

 

First, the organized walk-out is being hosted by 2 youth non-profit organizations, Youth In Action and Providence Student Union, which both have IRS 501C3 status from the federal government – that prohibits political activities/advocacy for such tax exempt organizations.  Since this walk-out is being promoted by these 2 youth agencies what sanction(s) if any will the Superintendent and/or the Providence School Committee impose on them? This walk-out will be disruptive to many other students who will attend all classes on Friday.  As a matter of fact, Classical HS Administrators have now rescheduled midterm exams which were to occur on Friday to next Monday.  Why?  Who’s in control of the school and the exam schedule?  And the Youth In Action Facebook page is proudly declaring this “a win for the movement!!”  Really?

 

I and many other Rhode Islanders have no quarrel with students demonstrating on their own time after school or this weekend – but to disrupt school with a walkout, get a paper notation/unexcused absence, and maybe a call to a family member is a farce and dereliction of duty for the public school administrators who have the authority to act more appropriately.

 

Another aspect of this developing debacle will be the role of RIPTA.  Will RIPTA aid and abet the blatant non-compliance of the walking out students by transporting them to the State House demonstration?   RIPTA is now on notice that this will take place.  Will they honor student bus passes when the students want to be transported to a political demonstration rather than be in school?  Why should public resources be allowed to support this political activity?

 

Do I need to discuss the Providence Police (and perhaps the State Police) contingency plans that are likely to be required – whether there is peaceful assembly or challenges?

 

Bottom line: the Providence Superintendent is complicit is setting a bad precedence which may very well invite high school students from other communities to join this political stunt.  Isn’t it time for the Providence School Committee to intervene?

 

Vincent Marzullo was a 2016 Independent candidate for District 26 of the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

 

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RI School for the Deaf 

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Total Points: No Data 

Index Prof/40:

GAPS/30: No Data 

SGP/30: No Data 

* No data was provided by RIDE

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Pawtucket 

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GAPS/30: 9

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SGP/30: 21 

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SGP/30: 15

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Index Prof/40: 16

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SGP/30: 21

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