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Students Take a Stand Against Layoffs

High School students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg are waging grassroots campaigns to save their favorite teachers from layoffs, reports The Charlotte Observer.

The district gave layoff notices to 304 teachers last month as part of budget overhaul, but students hope they can get some of decisions reversed—or at least voice their disapproval—through collective action.

“We all know that we have about a .001% chance of winning the fight,” said one student, “but these teachers taught us to take a stand in the face of difficulty, so writing letters is the least we can do.”

The protests go beyond letter and e-mail campaigns. A Facebook page entitled “History Is My Life! A Tribute to Dave Layton,” for example has amassed 573 followers, most of whom are current and former students of the pink-slipped history teacher.

And in an effort to keep English teacher Maggie Koller at Ardrey Kell High, junior Ali Suhren began a petition and collected 230 student signatures. “Her classroom has become a home for us,” explained Suhren.

Koller, like other area teachers, is humbled by her students’ efforts. “In my English class we talked about taking a stand,” said Koller. “I didn't think I'd be the one they're taking a stand for, but I'm proud.”

However, these campaigns are not likely to yield results. When asked about pink-slip reversals, Superintendent Peter Gorman replied in an e-mail, “We are following the criteria. Where stipulated, staff have appeal protections. We intend to be fair, legal and consistent and to follow the criteria.”

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