MALDEN - With one loud voice Malden High School students marched in solidarity down Pleasant Street to the school department building. They are upset and staged a walkout on behalf of some the teachers and faculty who were recently laid off.
"I am happy as a school we are doing this and protesting because we feel it's right, but I feel like they should take us seriously," senior Karen Rivera said.
Last week Malden Public Schools announced dozens of layoffs in a letter from the superintendent Ligia Noriega-Murphy. A total of 63 school employees received non-renewal letters saying the school district would not be renewing their contracts when they expire this year.
Much of the frustration was aimed at Superintendent Noriega-Murphy. "I don't believe that she's done a lot of productive things that has benefited the student body," Malden senior and class president Julie Huynh said. "She emphasizes a lot about student voice and yet she refuses to listen to us or talk to us before she makes big decisions like this."
School officials say the staffers were let go for varying reasons including performance evaluations, low enrollment in programs, or they were a temporary hire using COVID grant funding.
Noriega-Murphy released a statement saying, "These decisions are not made lightly as the district understands that it affects people's lives and has an impact on students. The decision is made by school and district administration teams collaboratively based on student needs within the framework of the budget."
Students who took part in the rally disagree. "I think one of the biggest problems is her lack of transparency with student and parents, with faculty," Rivera said.
Some students say the layoffs hit close to home and the bonds they form with their teachers makes learning fun.
"The budget cuts are a little crazy, we know that things happen but right now really isn't the best time. And there is a lack of transparency between the teachers and staff," Rivera said.
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