In a dark climate surrounding protests, our Bernstein STEM students gathered at LAUSD headquarters, poised to fight for their rights to a dignified education. This tiny protest organized by their teacher Ms. Gillian Claycomb, however, has a light at the end of the tunnel, all due to the courageous actions of a small band of underprivileged students.
During the public comment section of this week’s LAUSD Board meeting, three students from local high schools painted an ugly portrait of their educational experience: classes size of 40 - 50, inexperienced teachers, college centers with no counselors, libraries with no librarians, 8 students gathered around a table designed for two, iPads without any content or use, etc. Despite recent scandals LAUSD is facing, Superintendent Ramon Cortines, paid careful attention to the students’ protest.
Bernstein STEM students courageously stood at the podium demanding their dignity, expecting to be ignored or patronized by a room full of Ph.D.’s. Our 20 students, however, were buzzing with excitement with the caring and warm outcome, not quite fully comprehending the significance of their simple protest for all underprivileged students in LAUSD.
Mr. Cortines demanded the three presenters return to the podium, thanking them for speaking up and insisting on setting up a meeting before Christmas to solve these problems.
This event brings a sense of deeper meaning to the underprivileged students of LAUSD: they are actively engaged in the pursuit of a dignified life. It also reminds us to act altruistically like Mr. Cortines and Don Bosco: listening and responding to the cries of the young.