Clintondale students stage brief walkout

By: Maria Allard | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published November 7, 2012

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — After hearing rumors that secretarial positions throughout Clintondale Community Schools would be eliminated, about 100 Clintondale High School students staged a brief demonstration Oct. 31.

They left the school and walked to the district’s administration building, located on the same block, in an effort to support the secretaries.

“The students were very compassionate and respectful and wanted to gain a better understanding  of the process, and also to show support for the various secretaries within their building,” district Superintendent George Sassin said. “The visit lasted approximately 10 minutes, at which time the students returned back to the high school to complete their school day.”

Later in the day, CHS Principal Greg Green met with a smaller group of students to answer questions and address the rumors.

“At this meeting, the students were informed that no secretarial positions were being eliminated and that the Board of Education had approved the reduction of hours in four specific positions,” Sassin said. “The secretaries belong to our local AFSME union, and that union has a long-established procedure that will be followed to allow secretaries with more seniority to move to positions that will allow them to keep their longer work day. At the end of this process, all secretaries will have positions available to them.”

Other Macomb County students have staged protests in recent years when hearing staff members could be cut. On May 27, 2011, about 150 Fitzgerald High School students gathered across the street from the school to protest a number of budget cuts Fitzgerald Public Schools officials anticipated.

A number of staff cuts and programs for the 2011-2012 school year, including the kindergarten through fifth-grade physical education, music and art programs, had been cut. Some programs were re-instated. At the time, FPS Superintendent Barbara Van-Sweden said the district faced a shortfall of $8 million for the next school year, and cuts needed to be made to balance the budget.

The FHS protestors hoped to send a message to school officials and state legislators that these cuts will only hurt students.