PORTLAND, Ore. — About 100 students at Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland walked out of class Friday morning. They say they're trying to save important programs at the school.
Benson junior Kaily Malynowski said this week students were told the architecture major is getting cut, and possibly others too.
If the architecture program is cut, she said students will not be able to graduate with a degree from Benson in their major.
Benson operates differently from other high schools in the area. It has career and technical education (CTE) programs, or majors, that students concentrate on in their junior and senior years.
The students who walked out were not all from the architecture program. Many of them were there to support the students who say their major is being cut.
Juniors in the architecture program say they don't want to have to switch career paths before they graduate next year.
They're asking the school to keep the program alive for at least another year so juniors can graduate with a degree in the major they planned on and so their countless hours of work doesn't go down the drain.
“These are our majors. These are our passions. These are stuff we want to pursue. The reason a lot of us want to go off to college or want to pursue these kinds of careers is because we're exposed to these majors and we're a part of them,” said Malynowski.
Malynowski said the students who walked out want to make their message clear to state legislators as well as district and school officials. She said out of everything that could have been cut, it shouldn't be their opportunity to pursue something they're passionate about.
“We want to make it clear that education in Oregon should be very important. The students of today are the adults of tomorrow and we don’t want them to think that that’s something they can cut, and take away opportunities from us,” she said.
Malynowski said she was told the architecture major was being cut due to a lack of funding.
But Harry Esteve, a spokesperson for Portland Public Schools, said the major is being cut due to lack of enrollment.
He said nine juniors and nine seniors signed up for the 2019-2020 school year, which is a decrease from previous years.
Esteve said there are nine other majors students can choose from and the district hopes to resume the architecture program in the future.
Students mentioned that other programs were on the chopping block as well. When asked, Esteve said he would look into it. At the time of this post, KGW has not received a response.