ARVADA, Colo. – Students at Pomona High School in Arvada walked out of school Tuesday morning to protest recent cuts made to the school’s music, theater, and journalism classes.
Dozens of students left the high school around 9:45 a.m. and walked to Wadsworth Boulevard, where they gathered with signs to begin demonstrating.
“I'm in both theater and orchestra at the moment,” said freshman student Tegain Boley. “We're just doing a walkout because mostly all of the arts programs, journalism, instrumental music, theater — they’re all getting cut.”
A few weeks ago, students learned Pomona was eliminating the full-time instrumental teaching position, a part-time theater teacher position, and would make several more cuts impacting arts classes.
“Our goal with the walkout is to show solidarity and to show that we want these programs back,” said senior student Soren Zinger. “The end goal is to try to get these positions restored and if that doesn't happen, it at least shows that we are not just going to sit by and watch.”
Several parents showed up to show support for the student’s demonstration.
“The kids need to voice their opinions,” said Laura Gnotte, mother of a sophomore student. “I hope that the administration realizes that these are important classes and these are what the kids really want.”
Freshman journalism student Bryn Vaughn said she walked out Tuesday to support her fellow students and to advocate for another class that was cut.
“I don't do choir or instrumental music, but I have a lot of friends that do it and I'm in journalism, which got cut, and we're not going to have it next year,” Vaughn said.
Jeffco Public Schools released a statement on the walkout which reads in part:
Based on Pomona High School student selections, a full-time instrumental and vocal teacher was not warranted for the 2022-2023 school year. The reduction in full-time staffing is a result of a lower number of student requests in the music program. Currently, 85 students have requested choir/vocal music class each semester for the 2022/23 school year, and 60 students requested instrumental music class. Students who signed up for instrumental and vocal music courses will have the opportunity to take these courses from excellent music teachers who are shared among multiple school campuses.
The Pomona Principal, Andy Giese, has made himself available to the school community to hear their concerns and ensure student needs are being met. Jeffco Public Schools does not condone student walkouts and discourages students from engaging in this type of activity as it disrupts the school day and impacts student learning.
In a letter to parents and students, Principal Geise said, “I am committed to reaching a place where students feel heard. We are working on their concerns. While students are within their rights to protest, it would be unfortunate to lose instructional time or risk any safety issues that may arise from a walkout.”
Geise also said students who want to learn music will have the opportunity.
But students said this won’t make up for the loss of teachers they’ve grown to know and love.