Boston Public Schools Teachers, Advocates Protest Mayor Walsh’s State of the City

Education advocates braved the cold to demand more funding for the city's schools.

Photo by Kyle Clauss

BPS parent Peggy Wiesenberg. Photo by Kyle Clauss

Protesters endured a -2 wind chill Tuesday night to stretch a picket line across the entrance to Symphony Hall, where Mayor Marty Walsh is set to give his second State of the City address. The speech will likely address Walsh’s plans for Boston Public Schools, which some at the protest fear will include consolidation and closings.

“They say they’re not closing schools this year, but they’re stripping the resources,” said Peggy Wiesenberg, a parent of three Boston Public Schools graduates, including one from the Agassiz School in the Jamaica Plain. “When I say we’re worried about school closures, I know what I’m talking about.”

The protesters, which included schoolteachers and parents of children in the system, chanted “Marty Walsh, whaddya say? Fund our public schools today.” One demonstrator joked, “What do we want? A Xerox that words. And no cockroaches.”

Photo by Kyle Clauss

Photo by Kyle Clauss

Karen Kast-McBride, who helped organize the protest, said she believes Walsh will be receptive to their concerns. “We want a comprehensive, transparent audit, and we want the whole thing released to us without filing a public records request,” she said.

Photo by Kyle Clauss

BPS teacher Banjineh Browne. Photo by Kyle Clauss

Banjineh Browne, a teacher at the Boston Community Leadership Academy for the last three years, said he voted for Walsh over John Connolly in 2013, but he’s come to regret it.

“To be honest, I voted for Walsh. If I knew that would mean nine of my colleagues would be forced to leave, I’d reconsider that vote,” Browne said. “Education should be the No. 1 concern. Everybody in there has been to school.”

He jabbed at his sign with a mittened hand. “This is the state of the city.”