Malden High School Students Plan Walkout Over Teacher, Staff Layoffs

Photo: James Rojas/WBZ NewsRadio

MALDEN, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Students at Malden High School are planning a mass walkout to show solidarity for school employees who got laid off recently.

Malden Public Schools announce the layoffs Friday, May 13 in a letter from Superintendent Ligia Noriega-Murphy. In total, 63 school employees, including teachers and staff, received non-renewal letters saying the school district would not be renewing their contracts when they expire this year.

The staffers were let go for varying reasons, according to the superintendent, including performance evaluations, low enrollment in programs, or because they were hired on a temporary basis either as a replacement or using COVID grant funding. Malden Public Schools plans to hire replacements for the 36 educators laid off because of the results of performance evaluations.

"These decisions are not made lightly as the district understands that it affects people’s lives and has an impact on students," Superintendent Noriega-Murphy wrote. "The decision is made by school and district administration teams collaboratively based on student needs within the framework of the budget."

Some Malden High students told WBZ's James Rojas they support the planned walkout because these layoffs hit close to home to them—they recently found out the school would not be renewing their history teacher's contract.

"It's sad for people that are moving up in grade and for those coming in because they're not going to get the chance to get those teachers," one student said.

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The students also added they felt like they were not getting enough communication from the school administration about the layoffs. One parent said she supports the students walking out.

"I think the students should always have the agency to speak their mind and be involved in their community and the community decisions that affect them," she said.

But not everyone supports the walkout. One parent said they think the students should focus on their school work and let the adults handle the decision.

WBZ's James Rojas (@JamesRojasNews) reports.

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