Students protest layoffs, seniority

PONTIAC, Mich. - Students rallied outside Pontiac High School last week to protest the layoffs of 15 teachers, but comments made by one student to The Macomb Daily suggested that the youths also disagreed with teacher seniority rules.

"The young, motivated teachers that are gone are the ones that actually cared about us," Ravon Williams, 17, told The Daily.

"The ones that got to stay because of seniority, because of a contract, are the ones that aren't so patient with us and can't relate to us."

Williams, former class president, organized the gathering of about 200 students outside the high school on Friday, according to The Daily.

Robert Martin, the district's chief deputy for strategic reform, confirmed that 15 teachers were laid off at the end of the first semester, The Daily reported.

The protesting students gathered outside the high school before school, and the building was put on lockdown after other students began leaving the school between classes to join them, according to The Daily. It was unclear whether the students would be punished, The Daily reported.

The Macomb Daily, "Students protest in Pontiac," Jan. 30, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "A Teacher Quality Primer: Discretion in Hiring," June 30, 2008