Philadelphia students stage walk-out protest over budget impasse in Harrisburg

SPRING GARDEN (WPVI) -- "I'm down on my knees," said one teen. "I'm begging. Please, no cuts. No cuts."

Students from several schools across Philadelphia walked out of class Thursday morning to make a statement.

"We are not Hooligans messing around," said student Dotan Yarden. "We are serious about our education, civil rights and letting our teachers know how much we care about them."

"We just want to let people know that we still feel the effects," said student Cy Wolfe, "and students around the district still feel the effects."

The students, from the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts, Girard Academic Music Program and the Science Leadership Academy, say they know they have it better than most in the district because they attend magnet schools.

"If we don't raise our voice, then who will?" asked Wolfe.

"Dozens of high schools have no music programs," said Yarden. "Sad to think about all the kids who will never have a music lesson."

"We can listen to our kids and shake up our apathy," said Yarden's father, Joshua. "The powers that be are trying to kill it."

Those "powers that be" are in Harrisburg. The state's lawmakers are still in a budget stalemate. Yesterday there came another vote and another impasse.

The state has been operating without a budget since June 30th, leaving schools waiting for funding and forcing many districts to take out loans and do without just to stay open.

"If it takes a bunch of teenagers to remind us this is no way to run a city, this is no way to run a state," said Joshua Yarden.

The students said they marched Thursday not just for their dreams, but for those who will come after them.

"I only have two years left," said Dotan Yarden. "I want the kids who come after me to have a better school than I had."

"I hope they know we are still here," said Wolfe, "and we are still waiting and we're not happy with our district."

Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.