New Jersey students protest budget referendum results
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.
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.
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.
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." 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".