Students walk off campus to protest teacher layoffs

April 15, 2011 4:29:09 AM PDT
Out of the classroom and crying out against district budget cuts -- students at three local high schools walked out of school in protest of the cuts that will cost hundreds of teachers their jobs. Facing huge budget shortfalls, school districts across southeast Texas are slashing spending and jobs. Students in Katy ISD are speaking out about what they consider an unfair decision by the district. Katy ISD is facing a $50 million budget shortfall, due to cuts in funding from the state. Officials say 350 teachers have been given notice their jobs will not be renewed. An additional 224 teachers have already resigned or chosen to retire early.

Students at Morton Ranch, Cinco Ranch and Mayde Creek High Schools all walked left class Thursday to protest the cuts.

One large group of Morton Ranch High School students, estimated at 100 to 200 teens, stood outside the school Thursday morning to protest the district teachers who were laid off on Wednesday, and they can't understand why. Students complained that their teachers were called out of class. Some were immediately replaced by substitute teachers, while their own teachers left crying.

The district says teachers were not forced to leave school, but were given the option to leave for the day after receiving the difficult news, and so substitute teachers were standing by. Teachers will remain in class, employed, until the end of the school year.

"They fired good teachers that work hard and have helped me get through my high school so far," said Morton Ranch High School student Jacob Bushen.

"I think it was tasteless how they went about letting the teachers go," Morton Ranch High School parent Bonnie Hoyt. "These kids shouldn't be exposed to teachers getting laid off in front of them, teachers walking out and crying, teachers leaving the classroom. I've been laid off before and I know how it feels. They should have waited until Friday and early dismissal to let the teachers get their thoughts together. These kids don't have to be exposed to such a thing."

Katy ISD spokesperson Steve Stanford explained, "They are seeing firsthand, where a budget situation in Austin is impacting the teachers that they love and they hate to see go. We understand that emotion. The superintendent understands that emotion. In fact, he shares that emotion and is going out to the campus later today."

District officials say they were surprised by the protest. Students say they organized it quickly on Facebook and other social media. There will be no disciplinary action to the students. The district considers this a learning experience.

Officials add that the teachers who were laid off had probationary contracts, meaning they were relatively new to teaching or to Katy ISD.

If you captured any video or photos of the walkouts Thursday, please email them to or upload them on our iWitness Reports page.

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