WALKING OUT, FILING SUIT: Legal Challenge in Hope High Changes

Hope High School students staged a walkout in May over changes to their school.

In May, Hope High School students staged a walkout in protest over changes planned for their school, and now the fight is being taken to court. ABC6 has more from DeLuca & Weizenbaum, Ltd…


On Wednesday June 23, 2010 a group of Hope High students will file a legal challenge with the Rhode Island Department of Education to the Providence School Department's planned elimination of reforms implemented over the last five years at Hope High School in Providence. 

The students' petition asserts that Providence School Department's planned schedule violates a 2008 Rhode Island Board of Regents regulation that strictly forbids schools from reducing common planning time from their 2008 levels, one of the reforms put in place by the State to turn around Hope High. 

The students, who formed the student group Hope United, have been asking the district over the last three months to work with them and the school community to preserve the advisory system, arts and tech programs, longer class periods, and extended common planning time, changes put in place by the State that have been essential to the Hope community's turnaround over the last five years. 

For example, since these reforms were put into place, reading and writing scores have more than doubled.  Students spoke at four School Board meetings and organized a peaceful walkout in May but the district leadership would not consider any alternatives to the planned elimination of the reforms at Hope.  Now, students have decided they have no choice but to petition for a legal hearing at the state level.

Speaking about their reasons for going forward with the lawsuit, Hope students explained that their desire to receive a real education gives them little choice but to continue fighting.  “We finally have a school that, instead of holding us back, is allowing us to become what we know we're capable of becoming,” said Hope junior Angela Cruz.  “And they're going to take that away?  Oh no, they're not.  You can bet we're going to fight for our education.”

Hope United will be holding a press conference at 11:00 a.m. today June 23, 2010 in front of Hope High School to announce their legal challenge and answer questions regarding their decision.