Nearly 50 students were suspended Thursday from the Frederick Douglass Academy in Detroit after staging a protest, according to the Huffington Post. “We’ve been wronged and disrespected and lied to and cheated,” said senior Tevin Hill, who was one of the students who walked out of class at the all-boys school. They complained of a lack of teachers, a shortage of textbooks, and the reassignment of the school’s principal. Video from a local news station captured the protest.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in 2009 branded Detroit “ground zero” for education reform, but changed his tone to a more optimistic one last year. Still, the district is hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and faces dwindling enrollment — the first day of academic year 2011-2012 saw a 55 percent attendance rate.
Detroit Public Schools spokesperson Steve Wasko noted that Frederick Douglass teachers who abuse sick time “will be reprimanded,” and the district aims to keep the school open while adding new courses like debate and engineering.
The 17-year-old Hill told The Detroit News that so many teachers have been simultaneously absent from school that dozens of students had been forced to gather in the gym or other common school areas. Students also went for long periods without homework, and Hill said he struggled on a recent placement exam at Bowling Green State University, where he’s been accepted to attend next year.
“I literally couldn’t answer a question on there,” Hill said. “Right now, I’m not going to be as successful as I should be because I haven’t been properly taught.”
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