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Huntington Beach : School Officials ‘Rain On’ Proposed Sit-Down Area

Edison High School officials “rained out” a proposed sit-down Thursday by students to show support for teachers in pay negotiations.

Anonymously written flyers had called for an all-day student sit-down in a grassy area on schoolgrounds, said acting Edison High Principal Chris Rice. But the student protest never got off the ground after school officials simply drenched, with sprinklers, the proposed outdoor site for the rally.

“We learned Wednesday from students and from some parents about the flyers calling for the student action,” said Rice on Thursday afternoon. The walkout, according to the flyers, would show support for teacher union demands for a higher pay raise than is currently being offered the 750 teachers in the Huntington Beach Union High School District, which includes Edison High.

Rice said that she and other staff officials decided to defuse the action by making the protest unattractive.

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“We have to water that area anyway,” she said. “Of course, we watered it today more than it actually needed.”

Rice said the school sprinklers heavily doused the outdoor assembly area just before first period classes and then re-sprinkled the grass every hour between classes.

Edison High last week had a brief walkout by about 1,000 students, also in support of the teachers, but Rice said the students were persuaded to return to their classes without incident.

Negotiations between the high school district and the teachers’ union, the District Educators Assn., on Wednesday again failed to reach agreement on a new contract. Teachers have been seeking a 5% pay raise for this school year and required union-dues payment by all teachers in the district. The district has proposed a 3% pay raise and required union dues only for newly hired teachers.

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