Rallies, marches, walkouts and other actions are planned throughout the Bay Area and the state Thursday in response to cuts to public education, including a rally that could bring thousands of people to San Francisco’s Civic Center.
Demonstrations and walkouts have been scheduled at campuses throughout the region, from pre-kindergarten students to those in higher education, according to Matthew Hardy, spokesman for United Educators of San Francisco.
Hardy is one of the organizers, along with other teacher unions and student groups, of a 5 p.m. rally at San Francisco’s Civic Center that he said could be attended by more than 5,000 protesters who will call on state legislators to restore funding to public education.
“What we hope it generates is a movement to restore California as the preeminent state in terms of education and services,” Hardy said. “What’s happening right now is endangering a generation of students and their families.”
The Civic Center rally will feature more than 30 speakers from schools and universities as well as musical, dance and spoken word performances, he said.
Rallies are also planned at or near all 23 California State University campuses, while seven school districts in the Bay Area are moving their required springtime fire drill to Thursday morning “to symbolize there’s an emergency for education,” San Francisco Unified School District spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said.
Berkeley police are hoping the day’s events do not mirror an incident last week in which a building at University of California at Berkeley was vandalized. A subsequent riot broke out on city streets in which two people were arrested after a group of people defaced buildings and attacked officers.
Berkeley police Officer Andrew Frankel said “last week’s events certainly factor into our planning” for Thursday’s protest, which the department hopes “will be a peaceful one,” he said.
A list of events happening around the Bay Area and state on Thursday is available at www.calfac.org/march4.html.