Denver teachers went on strike Monday for the first time in 25 years, with a reported 2,100 teachers participating in the walkout. The strike, which the union voted to authorize in late January, began after negotiations between Denver Classroom Teachers Association and Denver Public Schools fell through Saturday night, as the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement on base salary for teachers in high-poverty areas.
With a reported 50:1 student-teacher ratio in some Denver schools, there was never going to be much in the form of basic educating going on today. But on Monday morning, as teachers lined the streets outside their respective schools armed with picket signs and heavy coats, Denver high school students decided against watching GATTACA for the 15th time and opted for a bad-ass show of solidarity.
Numerous videos posted on media outlets showed the students first supporting their teachers by dancing and chanting “pay our teachers,” in the halls. Soon after, they flooded out the front entrance to join the protesting teachers on the sidewalk outside the school.
The walkout marks the culmination of an ugly 15-month negotiation period between the two parties, one that’s included DPS threatening to report striking teachers to ICE and the school system calling for furlough federal workers to be scabs.
Chances are at least a couple of these kids are going to go home today and get scolded or even grounded by Big Parent for skipping school and rallying with the rabble-rousers. But fuck that, these kids rule and a hands-on lesson in public school funding and solidarity is a hell of a lot more useful than dicking around in an unsupervised classroom. Also, Denver students are workers now, it’s canon.