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New Jersey students protest budget referendum results

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April 27, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

MONTCLAIR, New Jersey: Days after nearly 60% of New Jersey public school districts saw their budgets rejected via state-mandated ballot questions, students in New Jersey's public schools are protesting the results[1].

Students in Montclair and other New Jersey cities and towns staged walkouts out of class at 8:00 AM local time on April 27, 2010, to express their displeasure over the results. The action comes after a former New Jersey public schools student used Facebook to help mobilize students across the Garden State to take action. According to a report published by WNBC-TV 4 of New York City, 17,500 students pledged on a group page to walk out of classes with another 14,700 who could join the protest[1].

Some school districts are threatening to suspend students if they walk out, but representatives of at least one group of protesters said they believed suspension was a risk they were willing to take in order to ensure that their voices were part of the debate.[1]

Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie issued a statement about the student protests stating: "we hope all efforts were made to curtail student walkouts." The Governor further stated: "it is our firm belief that the students were motivated by youthful rebellion or spring fever and not by any encouragement from any one-sided view on the current budget crisis in New Jersey."[2] The New Jersey Education Association which has been a constant rival with Governor Christie on the budgets said in a statement that they do not endorse the walkout, but said that the students were "engaging in civil disobedience"[3].

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