For the second time this year, Boston students walked out of class, ignoring warnings about unexcusesd absences to take to the streets Tuesday to call for an increase in funding for public schools.
Around 200 protesters left their classrooms around 1 p.m. Tuesday and converged on City Hall Plaza in the early afternoon. Despite predictions of a massive turnout, the demonstration was much smaller than the walkout in March, when thousands took part.
But the students who showed up had strong words for city officials.
"We will not take these budget cuts lying down!" shouted 16-year-old Isaac Hoeh, of the Boston Latin School, one of the many students who gave speeches amplified by a pair of speakers pointed at City Hall.
"Hey all my people!" they chanted. "I got a story! To tell the whole wide world this is students' territory!"
Fania Joseph, a student at the Boston Community Leadership Academy who was wearing an orange vest identfying here as a "peace marshall," said there was a lot to be concerned about at her school and in the district at large.
The student-teacher ratio is too high, she said, and the school has lost teachers and had funding for its library reduced. She worries about the impact cuts to special education will have on her peers, she said.
Joseph took aim at Mayor Marty Walsh, who has said he believes students are being misled by grown-ups and special interest groups.
Walsh repeated that claim in an interview with Boston Herald Radio on Tuesday. "There's no question in my mind that there's adults behind this," he said, without elaborating on who they are.
But Joseph said she's been studying the issues on her own.
"We're not misinformed," she said of Walsh. "He's misinformed."
Adult volunteers and education advocates at the rally handed out snacks, water and stickers from a folding table. Others helped of-age students register to vote. Parents, some holding signs, stood among protesters.
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Mom Maria Christina Blanco — clutching a giant poster reading "Full funding 4 BCLA & BPS" — said she worried about cuts and programming changes at the BCLA, where her daughter is a 10th-grader.
"I want her to have the same opportunities she had when she applied," she said