COLLIER STUDENT PROTESTS
- VIDEO: Hundred turn out for Feb. 21 school board meeting on block scheduling
- VIDEO: Raw video footage of Lely High protest
- VIDEO: Cell phone videos of Palmetto Ridge High protest
- VIDEO: Benjamin MacDonough cell phone video (Gulf Coast)
- VIDEO: Macy Ballin cell phone video #1 | Macy Ballin cell phone video #2 (Gulf Coast)
- VIDEO: Valentina Floegel cell phone video (Gulf Coast)
- PHOTOS: Student photos from the protests
- PHOTOS: Daily News photo coverage
- RELATED: Read the original story and the hundreds of comments about the protest 2/20/08
- RELATED: School Board to keep block schedules 2/21/08
- SUBMIT YOUR STUFF: Send us your photos & video from the protest
Students turn out by the hundreds to protest the scheduling change in Collier schools. Watch »
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 »
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 »
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.
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Staff writer Jenna Buzzacco contributed to this report.