Students for Teachers Plan Walk-Out Today in Support of Fair Contracts for Haverhill Teachers

A likeness of Michelangelo’s “Il Pensieroso,” more commonly known as “The Thinker,” at Haverhill High School. (WHAV News file photograph.)

A group of Haverhill High School students calling themselves “Students for Teachers” plan to walk-out of classes today to support teachers in their contract negotiations with the School Committee.

A spokesperson for Students for Teachers, Cameron Benson, said the group formed last week after discussions were had about Haverhill teachers’ contract negotiation. The group decided to organize and plan a peaceful walk-out and rally at the high school’s track to bring attention to the fight for a fair contract, as teachers are restricted from collective bargaining practices like striking.

Haverhill High School’s interim principal Kevin Soraghan told students and families in an email that students face disciplinary action.

“Please know that building administrators believe that student support of teachers is commendable. We appreciate all that our teachers do to support student learning and join you in supporting our teachers,” Soraghan said. “However, we cannot condone students walking out of the high school during school hours, as this brings potential serious student safety concerns.”

Soraghan went on to say that students who leave the building may face school-based punishments ranging from suspension to detention.

As WHAV previously reported, Haverhill teachers began “work-to-rule” at the start of this school year when their union contract with the School Committee ended, meaning teachers have not taken on responsibilities beyond the required minimum. Union members rallied on Sept. 1 for a fair contract, including professional compensation and a commitment to diversity and inclusion, however negotiations, which began at the beginning of June, still continue.

WHAV also reported in June that the union requested a 10% raise in the first year of a new contact followed by 6% each of the following two years to make up for seven years that teachers received no raises when the city was in financial dire straits.

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