THERMAL, Calif. - More than 100 students at Desert Mirage high school called for change. The group staged a sit-in at the campus' quad, protesting and refusing to go to class. The students want their voices heard about recent changes and teacher layoffs. "We need to have the best education that we have to offer so I am asking that the district and administration hear the needs of our parents and students," said a junior student who did not want to be identified.
The students say one of the biggest issues is Coachella Valley Unified's decision to lay off 20 teachers and transfer others from the school. District superintendent Dr. Darryl Adams says he values these opinions, but thinks they're misguided. "Just want our students to be safe and I'm very, very concerned, because I think some people are manipulating our students, giving them the wrong information," said Adams.
Dr. Adams won't say if he believes it's a teacher, parent or someone else that's responsible. He called a meeting with parents from the school to work on clearing things up, but some support the students' voices. "Really happy that somebody is taking on the board and Adams and really letting them know how they feel," said Mila Perezchica.
Students also voiced a concern with a change in scheduling for next year. The school will move from four longer classes day, eight subjects a year, to a traditional six periods a day, six subjects a year. The protestors say the current model better serves the needs of migrant workers, a large population of the student body. "Get the chance to come back and still have enough time to make up those classes that they missed," said a sophomore student.
Dr. Adams believes the change is not only needed, it's better for students in the long run. "Our students are going to leave us prepared for college, career and citizenship, we're going to see the whole community benefit from that," said Dr. Adams.
The board will hold its regularly scheduled meeting this Thursday at Mountain Vista elementary.