‘Get the hell out:’ Newark students call for superintendent’s resignation

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NEWARK (PIX11)-- Dozens of students occupied offices of Newark Public Schools Headquarters since Tuesday night, demanding the resignation of Superintendent Cami Anderson.

The sit-in started around 8:30 p.m. during a Newark Public Schools advisory board business meeting when the students went to the 8th floor where Cami Anderson's and other administrators' offices are.

It has been a long heated battle between students and administrators.

The young protesters say "One Newark" that was implemented last September does not work.

"I say get the hell out," said Ramon Melendez. "That is basically what I would tell her because she does not need to be here." Melendez did not pull any punches with the verbal jabs directed at Anderson.

It includes relocating school communities, changing school leadership, expanding charter schools, and a controversial plan to have a lottery system to get placed in desired schools.

It's not the first time the student has organized a sit-in.

Last year, Newark students forced a Newark Schools meeting to finish early and that last 17 hours.

Anderson was appointed by the state in 2011. Newark School District has been controlled by the state since 1995, but this protest is timed days before the deadline when the state has to decide if it will renew Anderson's contrct in the state-operated district.

"I stand with the kids," said one mother just steps from the entrance to the Newark Public School's building.

A spokeswoman for Newark Public Schools says the sit-in is "not the appropriate forum to engage in productive conversation."

"Over the past several months, we've worked to engaged this group of students  and listen to their concerns," Brittany Parmley, executive director of communications said. "Despite our best efforts to work together, they have repeatedly ignored district requests to meet and engage in a constructive dialogue."
"These are students. They should be in school," Parmley said of the sit-in.

There are city leaders who have praised the superintendent saying that she has done a lot to get the district back on track, but it is also worth nothing that the teachers union also opposes the One Newark plan, saying it is untested and hurts neighborhood schools.

In addition to periodic live video, the students have organized a Twitter campaign to support the protest with the hashtag #OccupyNPS.

Mayor Baraka a former principal himself in rare move has supported the students.

If she wants to make sure that our students have a good education, she needs to confront the community," Melendez said.