Today St. Helena school kids rose up in revolt and demanded their rights. Around 300 school kids walked out of lessons, demonstrated, ran amok and caused general mayhem.
The iniatially tentative protest stayed within school grounds for half an hour or so and teachers had half control of the crowd - but as time wore on St. Helena kids realised that parading round the back of the school would not do and rushed onto Sheepen Road to make their protest more clearly.
The feeling was electric and inspirational - the feeling of people who for the first time realise that orders only have power if you obey them
The protests have been a reaction to plans by the school to split up classes (and class mates) into divided houses. The school council was informed rather than consulted and the kids were given a like or lump it attitude by the authorities.
Well, they decided that this would not do...
These kids want a say in their own lives, they want to be treated with a bit of respect and they are thrilled at the possiblility of fighting back against these plans.
The shouts of 'strike, strike, strike' and 'we will not be moved' were brilliant as kids rushed round their teachers who helplessly looked on and tried to gain some sort of command of them. No chance. Fear did not work.
Burning school ties and blocking the road the best of these protesters were not going to be moved and were learning strategy and tactics as they marched, blocaded and sang.
Irresponsible to some - but only those aged and withered by time.
After two hours of protest some of the kids had gone back (for dinner) and plans were afoot as to how to take the protests forward. One girl shouted "if they don't give us what we want then this is round one, round two begins on Monday."
Watch this space!
This report posted to the Colchester Socialist Alliance website.
Also, from mainstream media:
Colchester Evening GazetteColchester: Hundred pupils in walkout.
Pupils at a Colchester school staged a walkout today.
About 100 children attending St Helena School in Sheepen Road left lessons at 11.30am.
Headteacher Clive Waddington said the children were protesting at plans to merge tutor groups, mixing years seven to 11.
Mr Waddington said: "We want to create a different pastoral atmosphere and want older students to take responsibility for younger students and for younger students to look up to older students."
He said it was an antibullying measure and pupils had been told of the plan in July. It is due to be implemented at the start of next term.
Published Friday December 5, 2003
Colchester Evening Gazette :
This follows Colchester school students staging strikes and road blocks against war on Iraq earlier in the year.