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Boston Students Protest Privatization of Voc-Ed

March 25, 1993

BOSTON (AP) _ More than 1,000 students walked out of their classes at a public high school today to protest plans to privatize a vocational education program.

The Madison Park High School students said they feared they would be shipped off to other schools and lose training that prepares them for jobs. City officials said the protesters were misinformed.

Hundreds of the students, who left the school in the inner-city Roxbury section at about 8:30 a.m., boarded subway trains to school department headquarters downtown and then to City Hall Plaza.

A cordon of police blocked the students from going to the mayor’s office, but Mayor Raymond Flynn later agreed to meet with a delegation of about 20.

Students were protesting Flynn’s proposal to turn their vocational program into an independent program governed by a board of business, trade and community leaders.

The idea was approved by the school committee Wednesday night after a raucous three-hour meeting.

″We were just outraged this morning,″ said Simone McLeod, the senior class president. ″We need the school in the community. It’s a very vital part of the community.″

Officials are ″trying to turn it into a private school and we’re trying to keep it open,″ said Sandro Quiros, 18, a senior. ″They think our school is a bunch of trouble and our education isn’t worth anything.″

Lauren Robinson, secretary to the school committee, said no final decision had been made on the vocational program, but added that the changes are meant to enhance vocational education, not eliminate it.

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