Students Occupy Minneapolis Public Schools Admin Building in Solidarity with Teachers Strike

Minneapolis, MN – Last night, high school students occupied the Davis Center, the administration building for the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), calling for striking teachers’ demands to be met. Educators with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Educational Support Professionals (MFT59) are on day 13 of the Minneapolis teachers strike.

As students gathered at the Davis Center, a senior at Minneapolis South High School said they were occupying the admin building because they were “tired” of the district using the media to say “that the teachers are taking advantage of the students and using” them.

This takeover comes amidst a push by the district to put blame on the teachers for the strike, along with district communication to parents holding the teachers in a negative light:

“We’re here because we’re tired of MPS putting this idea into the media’s head that the teachers are taking advantage of the students and using us to get whatever – to get their demands. We’re tired of MPS treating our teachers as like greedy, like narcissistic people, when in reality they’re like the basis of our communities and we rely on them for nearly everything. And they deserve better than what they’re currently being given and what they’re currently being offered on the union and MPS’s strike table.”

Senior at Minneapolis South High School

As negotiations continue between the educators and the Minneapolis Public School district over higher wages, smaller class sizes, mental health support resources and more, the president of Educational Support Professionals stated that the agreement is being ironed out in terms of anti-racist language and logistics. There is reportedly a possible 4% yearly wage increase being negotiated on.

Unicorn Riot received an update on Thursday, March 24, from a mediator on the strike negotiation table: “ESP for the most part finished up negotiating tonight within district perimeters. Licensed staff (teachers, social workers, nurses, etc) are walking through theirs in the morning. Hoping to see settlements tomorrow (maybe not until well into the evening) that will be brought to membership for a vote.”

Picket lines are continuing across the city with educators standing firm in their demands of “safe and stable schools.” As teachers walked the lines yesterday outside the Davis Center, inside the building, students began a sit-in in support of the teachers.

Under the premise that the teachers working conditions are the students’ learning conditions, the students are demanding more resources be put into non-white schools and for a safe learning environment without racism.

“We’re also here because there are a lot of needs of students all over Minneapolis, especially students in North Minneapolis and BIPoC students all over the city that are consistently going unmet despite continuous and long-time happening out-cries for more mental health resources and overall equitable resources because there’s a really serious resource gap between higher income and lower income schools and the lower income schools are a majority like non white students and their higher income schools are majority white students.”

Senior at South High

After discussing the terms of the occupation, Davis Center staff chose to allow the students to stay overnight without calling the police on them. The occupation went smoothly.

The teachers are not being paid during the strike. Support from large unions and the community is helping to keep the strike going. A large tweet thread by social media account Twin Cities Solidarity Network lists dozens of fundraiser links for schools participating in the teachers strike.

Rallies, marches, and events by educators and their supporters have been happening daily since the teachers strike started on March 8. A week before the student occupation of the Davis Center, over 1,000 educators marched in downtown Minneapolis.

Unicorn Riot coverage of the Minneapolis Teacher Strike 2022:

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