KEALAKEKUA — Fewer than 25 percent of Konawaena High and Intermediate school’s 1,200 students showed up for classes yesterday on the first day of a two-day walkout to protest the Department of Education’s refusal to reinstate their old three-term school schedule.
School officials reported that only 292 students were in class yesterday.
It is the second time this school year that students have gone on strike over the three-term schedule.
A two-day strike in October ended when the DOE and the Hawaii State Teachers Association promised to negotiate the return of the old schedule, something which has never taken place.
Under the old schedule, there were three terms during the school year with special week-long breaks between terms.
The students made the breaks possible by giving up the Easter break and staying in classes 10 minutes extra each day to make up the lost time.
The three-term arrangement continued this year, but the breaks were eliminated by the DOE, which claims they violate a clause in the teachers’ contract requiring uniform statewide school schedules.
The students feel they are being used as pawns in the power struggle between the DOE and the HSTA.
Konawaena officials feel little schoolwork is being lost by the walkout. Since it is the first week of a new term, little instruction was planned anyway.
Students plan to attend classes during their Easter break to further protest the scheduling.
Those who fail to attend classes during the walkout will be marked absent, but apparently no other penalties are being planned.