Students arrested at 2 high schools during protests

Hundreds of Gulf Coast High School students unhappy about a possible change to the high school schedule staged a sit-in at the school’s courtyard about 9 a.m. today.

Submitted by Kierce Bishop

Hundreds of Gulf Coast High School students unhappy about a possible change to the high school schedule staged a sit-in at the school’s courtyard about 9 a.m. today.

Video

Students turn out by the hundreds to protest the scheduling change in Collier schools.

Students turn out by the hundreds to protest the scheduling change in Collier schools. Watch »

Video

Raw video footage of the protest today at Lely HS.

Raw video footage of the protest today at Lely HS. Watch »

Video

Four cell phone video clips taken during Palmetto Ridge High student protest.

Four cell phone video clips taken during Palmetto Ridge High student protest. Watch »

Video

Gulf Coast High student Valentina Floegel submitted this 15-second cell-phone video shot in the school's courtyard during the student protest over proposed schedule changes.

Gulf Coast High student Valentina Floegel submitted this 15-second cell-phone video shot in the school's courtyard during the student protest over proposed schedule changes. Watch »

Video

Gulf Coast High student Macy Ballin submitted this 28-second cell-phone video shot in the school's courtyard during the student protest over proposed schedule changes.

Gulf Coast High student Macy Ballin submitted this 28-second cell-phone video shot in the school's courtyard during the student protest over proposed schedule changes. Watch »

Video

Gulf Coast High sophomore Benjamin MacDonough shot this 24-second cell-phone video in the school's courtyard during the student protest over proposed schedule changes around 9 a.m. today. Video was shot with a Motorola Q cell phone.

Gulf Coast High sophomore Benjamin MacDonough shot this 24-second cell-phone video in the school's courtyard during the student protest over proposed schedule changes around 9 a.m. today. Video was shot with a Motorola Q cell phone. Watch »

Arrest reports mounted Thursday morning and later in the afternoon as protests of a potential change of schedules for public high schools expanded from Wednesday’s sit-in by hundreds of students at Gulf Coast High School.

The Collier County School Board decided later in the day to keep the current block schedule for another year.

Six students were arrested on a variety of charges in the wake of Thursday morning’s protests.

Four Palmetto Ridge High School students were arrested following a sit-in at the school.

Also Thursday, two Lely High School students were arrested on suspicion of pulling a fire alarm after a protest against the school schedule. Pulling the fire alarm can result in a misdemeanor charge, Sheriff’s Office officials said.

School district spokesman Joe Landon said the Lely students were asked to return to class after Thursday’s protest at Lely, and all but about 200 did. When administrators addressed students, 150 returned to class. Eventually, the remaining 50 also returned to the building.

At Palmetto Ridge High, four students were arrested and charged with disruption of a school function, said Karie Partington, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.

Students were upset over a proposal to change the schedule from block to a seven-period day. Currently, students take four 86-minute classes per semester and earn a total of eight credits a year. As a result, the students receive 130.5 hours of instruction per class.

Last week, district officials brought plans for a new schedule to the School Board. The proposal calls for students to have seven classes per day and 165 hours of instruction per class, earning 28 credits during their high school tenure.

The change would save the district $5.7 million and cut 84 teaching positions at the high school level.

But students and teachers have said the change would affect the quality of education students would receive in Collier County.

At Lely High School, some students entered the courtyard during nutrition break armed with signs reading: “Say No to Change” and “No Change.”

Once the bell rang to signal the end of nutrition break, Lely students were sent back to campus by teachers and administrators. When some students complained, they were told by a teacher to voice their opinions at the School Board meeting Thursday afternoon.

Because those students went to class when told, no one got into trouble, Principal Ken Fairbanks said.

“They made their point,” he said.

At Naples High School, students gathered in the Golden Eagle’s football stadium to protest the schedule change. Naples Daily News reporters were not allowed on campus, but could hear Principal Nancy Graham speak to students through a bullhorn.

Students were told that they could protest until 9:30 a.m., but then they had to go to class or “face consequences.” She also offered to meet with the students regardless of how the School Board voted, to discuss the schedule.

Many students went to class before 9:30, but many stayed in the bleachers after they were told to be in class.

Graham offered to speak with reporters after the students were back in class.

- - -

Staff writer Jenna Buzzacco contributed to this report.

Check back to naplesnews.com for more on this story.

© 2008 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 2

OldMarcoMan writes:

What has happened to our youth ? I guess they dont teach history at CC School, these poor kids dont even know how to protest. Words ? Silly Signs ? The CCSB could care less. If they dont listen to Parents and Tax Payers what makes the Students think they will listen to them?
Kids you have to hit them where they will feel it. Bring your Lunch for a week, make them start to loose money in the Lunch Room and they will notice. If that doesnt get tier attention have a 'Flu' day. If they dont get that ADA money a few day they will really notice.
You can yell till your voice fails, hit them in Wallet and you will get their attention.

Rachael writes:

OLDMARCOMAN: Sadly... you are right.

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