Tag Archive: sit-in

Newark Students in Rolling Stone

Chris Christie isn’t the only person from New Jersey capable of making national news. Skip for a sec the Flemington deli man serving up racism with his sandwiches picked up in Salon last week. But this is so much better.

Newark Students with Chris Christie signI just want to make sure everybody sees the amazing coverage the Newark Students 4-day sit-in at Superintendent Cami Anderson’s office is getting in Rolling Stone.

They deserve it. These kids are badass. Hardcore. Well-versed in the issues of importance to them, well-supported by parents and community. Efforts to intimidate them only make their adversaries look ridiculous. And what they’re doing absolutely should be a model for students who value education and see it threatened. We have so much to be proud of in them.

The piece, by Rebecca Nathanson, opens with the boneheaded decision by the office of the absent Anderson to withhold food that parents and community brought to the front door of the Newark Public Schools building, for the kids upstairs with two adults supporting them. What looked like an effort to starve out minor children – on public property no less – went viral quickly via social media, then national. A PR disaster for NPS.

That one moment underscored the basic reality of Cami Anderson’s tenure in Newark. Defending her are Gov. Chris Christie, who picked her, and whose state Ed Dept. just re-upped her at a whopping big salary. And that’s it. Her presence, disrespect for families, her incompetence, disorganization and failures to account for what she’s doing, are resented by just about everyone else – students, who’ve led a thousand kids to walk out of school, parents, Mayor Baraka, teachers, and much of the School Board. Through it all, the students put themselves out front.

Newark Students talk about What Brought Them to Civil Disobedience

Why did students occupy Newark Public Schools HQ for four days last week?

New Jersey, these are your young people, the leaders of Newark Student Union. They are dealing with the knife edge of issues that could easily make it to your own local schools, if they haven’t already. You may remember that one of the demands these high school students, and their parents, made of Christie-appointed Superintendent Cami Anderson is that she finally attend the School Board meeting on the 24th, as superintendents should be expected to do. That’s tonight. The meeting’s going on now. And again, Cami has ditched. Here is what the students have to say:

Newark Student Union claims victory, now will shift focus to Chris Christie

Cami Anderson waited out 65 hours during a civil disobedience action by the leadership of Newark Student Union. During that time she avoided her office as calls for her to show up and address student concerns came via social media from all over the country and the street below filled with Newark parents, community, clergy, the press and even Mayor Ras Baraka.

h_cover_0121Today she finally walked in and talked for about an hour. Officials asked students not to record the conversation or let anyone know she was coming. But then Newark Public Schools released their statement during that meeting. It was a savvy, but bad-faith, effort of NPS to gain back some control of the disastrous PR effect this sit-in has had on Cami, on One Newark and NPS.

The occupation will end at 5:30 today, as students come downstairs to talk to the press. Now they shift their focus to Chris Christie, another absentee figure and a politician already dealing with public relations problems, but who bears ultimate responsibility for the mess Anderson has made.

Here’s what the students said a about targeting Chris Christie:.

Newark Student Union sit-in: Scare tactics and avoidance from absent Cami Anderson

UPDATE 1: Watch Newark Public Schools officials attempting to withhold food brought to the building by parents & community to manipulate students into ending the sit-in in order to eat. Food was held up for hours by NPS officials yesterday, until clergy forced themselves through security. Watch

UPDATE 2: Mayor Ras Baraka spoke to press outside Newark Public Schools this AM, expressing solidarity.


Full letter, signed by Cami Anderson’s Assistant Superintendent, is at end of post.

Yesterday, as Newark high school students were rolling toward their first 24 hours of a sit-in protest at the office of School Superintendent Cami Anderson, this letter was hand-delivered to their parents at their homes. I’m told that Newark police officers were used to deliver them, a dubious use of law enforcement personnel. Nothing says I care about your kids better than sending a cop to your door.