You may have seen the City Paper report about FSAS' breakfast protest. Below is a description of how that protest went from idea to reality, courtesy of Caucus Member and FSAS Building Rep Amy Roat.
Why We Protested
In September, my principal and the Food Service manager asked the staff at our school to serve breakfast to the students in Advisory. We had no staff to keep them safe before school, and there was a promise that we would get another Food Service employee if our breakfast attendance increased. It was a lot of hard work on the part of Advisors, and there were unintended consequences – a serious mouse and cockroach infestation.
Not only were we denied another employee after increasing our breakfast attendance 77%, but rumors abound that there will be a cut in staff in the cafeteria for next year.
How we Planned the Protest
Most importantly, teachers should develop relationships across the school – food service, school police, custodial staff and safety staff. Spend some time chatting -- it is not difficult to find common ground. We were all experiencing the ill-effects cutbacks of supplies and staff. We all feel disrespected and know that 440 is totally disconnected from our reality.
When I heard that we had won a $3000 prize for improving our breakfast attendance, I congratulated our Food Service Manager and found out the rest of the story. For some reason, the district was not allowing us to keep the money, and people from 440 were showing up for a photo op. That got everyone talking at lunch time.
By the next day we had a plan. I emailed a description of what was going on and described our protest plans. More importantly, teachers at every lunch period talked it up and reminded each other to wear red. The combination of an email and face to face communication is most effective. It is common for me to receive texts during the day that say ”did you know…” We are in the habit of communicating and taking action.
The day before the protest, two of us approached the food staff and told them how much we cared for and respected them. We were upset about the situation and were planning a protest, but we would not tell them the details to protect them. We contacted a reporter and offered him an exclusive if he guaranteed a story.
The day of the protest, we gathered behind closed doors and discussed exactly what we would do. Then we walked in together. A teacher took the pictures and emailed them to the reporter.
A solid protest requires trust, knowledge, discussion, agreement, publicity and action. This one took about three days to plan.