Hashtags and handcuffs: A week of protests against the SRC
Following the School Reform Commission's swiftly-executed decision to cut the district's contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, students walked out of schools on Wednesday, a parent was arrested outside Governor Tom Corbett's office on Thursday, and Philly teachers staged city-wide protests on Friday.
Wednesday: #StudentsForTeachers skip school
Students walked out of classrooms in solidarity with teachers who have been accused of not making sacrifices to supplement funding shortages in the school district — one of the arguments Superintendent William Hite and SRC Chairman Bill Green used to justify cuts to educators' health care benefits.
Thursday: Protester arrested for sitting in the Bellevue
A sit-in of teachers, parents and children outside Corbett’s Philadelphia office turned into a long night for one of the protesters, Cheri Honkala, who was arrested in the public area of the Bellevue.
After continuous budget cuts to education, demonstrations outside the Bellevue are not uncommon. Corbett’s office on the 11th floor rarely receives representatives from protests, so citizens typically congregate outside on the Broad Street sidewalk. But on Thursday evening after security shutdown elevators and locked the stairwell doors, the group, many affiliated with Moffet Elementary near Fishtown, sat right down in the lobby. That's when Honkala demanded a citizen's arrest of the governor before she was escorted out by police.
— Fight for Philly (@fightforphilly) October 9, 2014
Friday: Teachers 'turn up'
As Honkala was arrested, teachers from across the city were planning the following morning’s demonstrations outside their schools, spreading the word with the hashtag #TurnUpForTruth to emphasize the politics behind the SRC's decisions to cancel PFT's contract.