Students at Classen SAS stage walkout, march to capitol to protest budget cuts

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OKLAHOMA CITY - For the second time this week, Oklahoma City students have walked out of class in protest of budget cuts that are threatening programs and positions.

Lawmakers across the state said drastic measures are needed in order to make up a $1.3 billion budget shortfall the state is facing.

Public schools are having their budgets slashed by millions, causing some districts to fire teachers and cancel popular programs just to stay below the red line.

On Wednesday, teenagers at Classen School of Advanced Studies in northwest Oklahoma City marched from their school to the Oklahoma State Capitol.

This is the second time this week students have staged a walkout in protest of the budget cuts.

Their goal was to get lawmakers' attention to find solutions.

“We, the students, are going to take the brunt of their actions. We just want to show them that we care about their decisions and that we need a new change,” said senior Thomas Massenat.

Massenat led the march from Classen SAS to the capitol.

Eighth graders like Ava Johnston joined in, making signs, hoping to save programs they said defines their character and their school.

“It's not just something I do as a hobby or activity. It's something very important to me. It's a part of who I am,” Johnston said.

Students at Classen SAS march to protest budget cuts
Students at Classen SAS march to protest budget cuts

Students said they are already feeling the effects of the $1.3 billion budget crisis.

"We've had teacher positions eliminated. We've lost a lot of funding for AP and IB testing, and we've seen administrative cuts, as well," Massenat said.

Massenat said he wants lawmakers to focus on tax programs that will boost revenue to prevent other cuts.

At the capitol, the kids met with 'Let's Fix This,' a nonpartisan political movement encouraging people to speak to legislators about topics like education.

"It's one thing to walk out of class. That takes bravery. It's something else to walk two miles, go to their office and say 'Hey, this really matters,'" said Andy Moore, 'Let's Fix This' organizer.

"Education matters to me. It's the reason why I ran for office,” said Rep. Jason Dunnington.

Dunnington talked to the kids about the reality of the budget shortfall.

KFOR received an email that said some 6th graders from Classen SAS were not allowed to march, which upset some parents.

Our crews reached out to the principal to find out why, but we have not heard back.

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