Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker likes to say he balanced Wisconsin's budget without layoffs of any public employees. It's a double lie.
He didn't balance Wisconsin's budget, and local school districts across the state are laying off teachers and staff due to massive cuts in education funding in Walker's budget.
Some 50 or so high school students in Rhinelander (not traditionally a hot bed of political protest) are not happy with the layoff of four of their teachers, and they made their displeasure known by walking out of class and setting up a picket line on the sidewalk in front of the school yesterday morning.
Their reward? Tickets and fines from the local sheriff, pending disciplinary action from the school administrators, and a ridiculous admonishment from Oneida County Detective Sergeant Phil Newcomb, who told them "Stop protesting....There’s a peaceful way to protest, but this is not the way.”
Really? This was not a peaceful protest...???
(the video will not embed, but go watch the story and video from NBC affiliate WJFW TV.)
“The teachers that are getting fired, if they did what we’re doing right now, they’d be fired instantly. So they know that they have someone that will stick up for them," said Dalton Rose, an RHS student.Students chanting "Keep our teachers" and waving at supportive motorists passing by. OMG! Call out the National Guard! Order more pepper spray!
Students told Newswatch 12 the effect the teachers have had on them goes beyond the classroom.
"Mrs. Schaffer always listens to our personal problems, even though she doesn't have to. She could just teach us, but no, she takes the time to actually listen to us and help us," said student Dani Hageny.
Some say the teachers, while not promoting this specific protest, instilled in them the idea of standing for their values.
“They teach us to stand up for what we believe in and have a voice," said student Haleen Guth.
Here is my favorite quote from one of the student protesters:
"it's not just the fact that they're cutting the teachers. It's the fact that we don't ever have a voice in what goes on in our school."
That, my friends, is what Scott Walker has done to Wisconsin. He has attempted to silence the voice of the people, and he has empowered people like Oneida County Detective Sergeant Phil Newcomb to bully peaceful protesters trying to fight back by exercising their constitutional rights.
Keep giving them hell, Rhinelander students! You deserve a quality education. You deserve good teachers. You deserve to have your voices heard!