Los Angeles teachers arrested in protest against layoffs
LOS ANGELES, May 15 (Xinhua) -- About 45 Los Angeles teachers and their union leaders were arrested Friday after they sat down in a downtown street to protest possible teacher layoffs.
"We're being arrested to send a message to the (school) district and the city ...," said A.J. Duff, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, as he was being led away by police.
The teachers' action was part of a protest against budget cuts that could include thousands of layoffs. Police said the protesters were arrested for blocking a public street.
Schools across Los Angeles were disrupted Friday as thousands of teachers called in sick and hundreds of high school students walked out of classrooms to protest the budget cutbacks at the second-largest school district in the United States.
The teachers union earlier had called for a one-day strike for Friday, but decided to organize one-hour rallies at various schools instead after a judge issued a restraining order preventing teachers from striking.
School district officials also threatened to fine teachers and take away their teaching certificates if they walked off their jobs.
The Los Angeles school board voted last month to authorize thousands of layoffs, including teachers, to close an estimated 600-million-U.S.-dollar budget deficit. It was estimated that a total of about 2,500 teachers would be fined from different Los Angeles schools.
But the school district's budget deficit increased Thursday by about 250 million dollar after California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled a new state budget revision, proposing deeper educational spending cutbacks and calling for more teacher layoffs.
Editor: Mu Xuequan