March 11, 2011 in Idaho

Post Falls students lead peaceful protest

By The Spokesman-Review

Hundreds of Post Falls High School students staged a walkout today to express their unhappiness with the Idaho bills 1110 and 1108.

The two bills proposed by state schools Supt. Tom Luna would strip teachers of their bargaining rights and force teachers into a merit-pay system. Both bills await Gov. Butch Otter’s signature.

“We just feel that as students that this will affect us and our lives, so we are trying to do all we can,” said Jared Conrad, one of the students who led the protest.

Students started the walkout about 10:45 a.m. this morning, during first lunch. Students were told they would not be considered absent despite missing class if they stayed on school property. At one point, about 500 of the high school’s 1,500 students had joined the crowd outside.

Protesters carried signs that read: “Second worst in education in the U.S., we don’t need fewer teachers,” and “Bills written by a Luna-tic.”

Students, teachers and education advocates around the state have been coming out against the Luna bills throughout the week. On Wednesday, students at Coeur d’Alene High School and teachers from the Post Falls School District held separate protests.

The Post Falls High School protest disbanded about 12:45 p.m., Conrad said. The effort was apparently peaceful. Police were not called to the school.

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