Thousand Islands students protest teacher layoff proposal

Updated: Apr. 21, 2021 at 5:25 PM EDT
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TOWN OF CAPE VINCENT, N.Y. (WWNY) - Dozens of Thousand Islands Central students walked out of class and into the snow Wednesday. Their message was clear as they chanted, “Save our teachers.”

Sophomore Annalisa Luchini was among them. She says the day’s event started after first period “to make it seem like it was a normal day.”

The walkout follows a protest at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

Eight teachers could be laid off as part of a proposal school officials pin on a dip in enrollment.

Senior Jayden Maloney says he planned to give a speech at the meeting, but because of COVID-19 restrictions, he and many others couldn’t get in.

So he spoke at the walkout and sang the praises of one teacher who could lose his job.

“He cares and cherishes every day that he comes into class and gets to teach and make people, and actually learn about something,” he said.

For Luchini, keeping class sizes small is what drives her.

“There is absolutely no reason to cut the teachers and if they did, that means bigger classrooms. And for special ed students, they need the smaller classrooms so they can get that help,” she said.

Luchini says there could be more protests in the near future. As for this walkout, she’s not worried about punishment from the school.

“It was a peaceful protest. We did not damage anything. We did not say any harmful things,” she said.

We’ve reached out to the district superintendent for comment, but didn’t hear back.

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