Students walk out of Tulsa school
TULSA — Hundreds of the Edison Preparatory School students walked out of class Wednesday to protest Tulsa Public Schools policy and the school’s administration amid “deteriorating conditions” at the school.
Students who spoke with the World were adamant that Edison is still a great school but it is suffering from a negative climate and teacher turnover.
The protest came in the wake of several highprofile incidents at the school, which have led the school community to voice its concerns to the district’s administration and call for the removal of Principal Dixie Speer.
Dozens chanted “What do we want? Better teachers,” on the school’s football field, clutching signs that read “Bring Excellence Back to Edison” and “Without teachers, we live in ignorance.”
Faith Shirley, the Edison junior who organized the protest, said the walkout was an effort to protest the “deteriorating conditions” the school is experiencing.
“This year, two students sexually assaulted a janitor first semester and then a teacher threw a desk. That doesn’t happen at the school that I used to go to,” she said.
Two students were arrested in November after breaking into the school after hours and groping a janitor. ‘In January, Robert Reynolds, then an English Language Arts teacher, resigned after video of him throwing desks emerged on the internet. Reynolds was an emergency-certified teacher.
TPS released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying “what happened at Edison this morning is an example of students taking a stand for what they believe.”
“We are taking the concerns that our students, teachers, and parents have raised seriously and working urgently with the TCTA, Edison teachers, and the Edison leadership team to develop both immediate and long-term action steps and solutions,” the statement said.
The concerns shared by students echoed those that have been shared by parents, students and teachers in recent weeks: high teacher turnover, low wages, issues with discipline and distrust of the administration.
Principal Dixie Speer was out sick on Wednesday.