Students at hundreds of high schools and colleges nationwide are planning a walkout on Wednesday to protest the Bush administration’s plans for war in Iraq.
The student strike is being coordinated by the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, an organization of 15 student groups that came together after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The coalition, which calls the action “Books not Bombs,” has linked student protests against war in Iraq with a call for better-financed schools.
“We’re getting about 10 schools a day contacting us to participate, and it’s probably about 35-40 percent high schools,” said Andy Burns, an organizer who is signing up schools from his office in Little Rock, Ark.
Mr. Burns said he expected about 300 colleges and high schools to participate in the walkout. Many of the students organizing next week’s action have portrayed the latest round of tuition increases at state colleges and universities as a “war tax” on the poor.
“We’re walking out of our classes because it’s completely ridiculous that students in Iraq, who are exactly the same as us, will have to face the consequences of a unilateral war,” said Amanda Flott, a University of Kansas student who is a spokeswoman for the coalition. “Also, at a time when many students are already priced out of higher education, the increase in funding for the military will decrease the money available for education, all to support a war that in my mind is not justifiable.”
From Chico State University in California to Castleton State College in Vermont, students are planning a variety of events for the walkout, including antiwar rallies and a mock election, with ballots to be sent to Congress on which protesters can cast votes against the war and for education.
The coalition said that student groups in Australia, Spain, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Brazil and Scotland were organizing strikes in solidarity with the American students.