Teacher Slowdown, Slows Down

by Jenna McFarland

Teacher Slowdown, Slows Down
• District/Teacher conflict continues (sort of) with hopes there will be no lingering effects for students and families to deal with.

Although a tentative agreement has been reached between the teachers and the School Board, and some teachers have resumed writing letters of recommendation, the impasse has greatly impacted students across the district.
Throughout the past month, the talk throughout the halls of Palos Verdes and Peninsula high schools was the teacher slowdown, or more worrisome for seniors, letters of recommendation.
At first, students were simply concerned about their college admission, but as time went on and the issue developed into something greater, students began to get involved.
From showing up to School Board meetings, speaking at those meetings, holding signs outside of district offices or even starting a petition, students across the Palos Verdes Unified School District took action for something they believed in — their teachers.
One student that went above and beyond in her support of the teachers was PV High senior Izzy Barajas. Along with fellow senior Sarah Ellis, she started a petition in support of the teachers that received more than 750 signatures.
They went on to hand-deliver the petition to Superintendent Don Austin where their goal was “to make sure he and the other board members understand that all the students are aware of what is going on, are upset about it, and are willing to fight for what’s right.”
When asked what inspired her, she said, “My teachers and all the hard work and dedication that they have put into making me the woman I am today for the past four years.”
She went on to say that “when someone I love is being treated unfairly, I fight for them because that’s the least I could possibly do.”
Another way she fought for the teachers was at the School Board meetings where she gave intelligent and passionate speeches along with teachers, parents and fellow students.
Barajas has stood in solidarity with the teachers, but she is not the only one to do so. Over the course of the negotiations, many students spoke out and advocated respect and fair treatment for the teachers.
In addition to standing up for what they believe in, students have also had to take action in order to keep their clubs alive. In addition to not writing letters of recommendations, another part of the teacher slowdown was not advising any clubs, as that is not in their contractual obligations.
Without the input of teachers, countless important clubs on both campuses could have died. However, numerous students took it upon themselves to keep their clubs running. PV High senior Karinn Murdock is just one example.
As one of the presidents of the Palos Verdes Organization of Women (PVOW), Murdock, along with her fellow presidents, decided that their club was too important to be lost. And so they worked hard to continue holding meetings, bringing in guest speakers and staying active without adult support.
PVOW is just one example of a how students rose to the occasion.
Throughout this whole period of dischord, students across the district have learned to take action for what they believe in, whether it be starting a petition or working hard to keep a club alive.
PV teachers have instilled their students with the value of fighting for what is important to them, and as unfortunate as this situation has been, it has forced the students of Palos Verdes to do just that — it has forced students to step up.

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