Connecticut Students Walk Out, Protest Lack of Teacher Diversity

By Sameer Rao Jun 01, 2016

New Haven, Connecticut, charter Amistad High School’s lack of teacher diversity compelled nearly 100 students to walk out and protest yesterday (May 31).

"The student body should be reflected in the staff," student Messiah Gordon said during a call-and-response speech cited by the New Haven Independent. "Diversity in the staff increases our sense of comfort and our ability to interact with confidence in our problems."

According to the Independent, students called out an environment in which Black teachers felt compelled to leave and discipline (including issued demerits) seemed subjective. A spokesperson for Achievement First, which operates Amistad and other New England and New York charter schools, said that about 27 percent of "staff members identify as Black, Latino or multi-racial," while school statistics say the student body is at least 98 percent Black and Latino.

Achievement First administrators met with some protesters, while some students’ parents dropped off food and water in support. According to the Independent’s record of conversations, some student leaders thought the administration heard their message, while others acknowledged the importance of ongoing work to bridge the school’s diversity gaps.

Check out some tweets from the protest below:

(H/t Fox 61)