LOS ANGELES (May 14) — Gabnet Youth slams the recent LA School Board and Superintendent Ramon Cortines’ threats to impose an injunction if the teachers continue with their planned strike. On April 30th, over 73% of the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) union members voted for a one-day strike on May 15th to protest the budget cuts that would lay-off over 5,000 teachers and leave students in overcrowded classrooms.
Following a March 16th walk-out of over 2,000 students led by Gabnet Youth, and student strikes throughout the city, the LA School Board has been preparing to stop the teacher strike and any simultaneous student protest on May 15th.
Earlier this week, parents received a phone call to their home telling them to send their children to school
and that teachers and students alike must stay in their classrooms.”The district left a message for my parents while they were at work. When I heard it I knew that they were trying to warn my parents and intimidate me so that I won’t walk-out to protest with my teachers,” explained Cassandra Roman, Gabnet Youth member.
Today, students were further informed that the United Teachers of Los Angeles union officially called off the one-day May 15th strike to avoid legal action by the School Board. There are still ongoing discussions as to what course of action teachers will take this Friday. “Our teachers told us that the strike was officially called off, but that they may still take to the streets. We told them that the students support them and that we will stand with them despite the School Board threats – we’re not afraid,” said Yvania Zepeda, Gabnet Youth leader.
The attempt to silence the teachers and students has mobilized the larger community. Last week, Gabnet co-sponsored a forum held by Kabataang maka-Bayan (KmB) to bring the education cuts to the attention of the Echo Park and Downtown residents. “The larger community is watching and we are disgusted at the LA School Board’s union-busting and cutting of resources to the schools that already get the least,” stated Ivy Quicho, Gabnet Organizing Director. “Gabnet is committed to fight alongside teachers and students until we see educational equity,” added Ms. Quicho.
Gabnet Youth, a unit of the Gabnet Los Angeles chapter, has been organizing their peers and informing them on the budget cuts to education since February. They have partnered with teacher groups to organize community forums, picket the School Board, and are meeting weekly to organize to stop the lay-offs of their teachers and funding cuts to their schools.