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MPS students stage sit-in to support educators

The students marched from North High School to the Davis Service Center Tuesday in solidarity with Minneapolis Public Schools teachers on strike.

MINNEAPOLIS — School's out, but students were in at North High School — even the ones who don't go there.

"[We're here] showing support for the teachers, man," Southwest High School sophomore Morris Callahan said. 

"Our educators, they teach for us, they make lesson plans, they work really hard and they're not being given what they deserve and need," Hawa Ceesay, who is also a sophomore at Southwest said.

Hawa Ceesay, Zahra Mohammad and Morris Callahan said their appreciation for teachers has grown, especially leading up to the strike. They had all traveled to North High School Tuesday morning to participate in the strike, march and sit-in, spanning from North High School to the Davis Service Center in Minneapolis.

"I think that a lot of students are suffering from like...there's a lot of mental health issues that stem from high school obviously, and that's why there's a lot of mental health supports that they're asking for," Callahan said. "I think that's something that's noticeable in school. I think the teachers, at least from what I've seen, are doing a really good job keeping it together, keeping composure and stuff, so that's nice to see."

At the Davis Education Service Center, teachers were joined by the students who chose to walk the picket line together.

Some, eventually making their way inside for a sit-in.

"Everybody's mental health is messed up," a student said. "Everybody's social skills are low-key messed up — I know mine are. When I was in the house it was crazy, and it was like that for everybody. Everyone was low-key feeling the same way and for us to come back and have human-to-human interaction and you're still finding ways to put us out of school again, all you need to do is do what they ask."

And what the students were asking, was for their support system to be supported.

"This never had to happen; they never had to worry, they never had to stress and they did anyways, and they have to now because people aren't giving them money that they deserve," another student said in front of the crowd.

"These people who are kind, these people who are going out of their way to make sure that people who look like me have a good education — and people who look like me are able to make it out of the hood — you mean to tell me you won't do anything for them?"

Approximately 30,000 Minneapolis Public Schools students are out of classes. More than 4,500 teachers and education staff are on strike, asking for better wages, smaller class sizes and mental health support for their students.

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