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Walkout, Suspensions Cause Tumult at CRLS

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School (CRLS) has endured an administrative uproar over the past week, starting with a student protest last Wednesday and continuing with the suspension of the principal and his reinstatement last week.

CRLS Principal Edward Sarasin returned to the school yesterday after being reassigned to work at home last Friday by Superintendent Mary Lou McGrath.

At a special School Committee meeting last night in the CRLS cafeteria, McGrath and Sarasin said the suspension was the result of poor communication, and said they planned to hire a mediator to improve communication between the two.

When asked why she suspended Sarasin, McGrath cited the principal's handling of the suspension of 150 CRLS students for walking out of class last Wednesday. McGrath said she received complaints Thursday night from parents who felt they were not sufficiently informed of their children's punishment.

The students left school at 12:45 p.m. last Wednesday and marched to a School Committee meeting at City Hall to protest a $1.7 million cut to the CRLS budget.

The cut represented more than half of the School Committee's total $2.9 million deficit, and would be borne by 20 percent of the district's students.

According to McGrath, the student protest--and not budget issues--led to her decision Friday to send Sarasin home with pay.

"I thought we had to stop, take a deep breath," said McGrath.

Sarasin was reinstated yesterday after a meeting between the superintendent, the principal and Mayor Sheila T. Russell. He returned to work immediately after the meeting.

Sarasin said yesterday he was "obviously shocked and disappointed" Friday upon learning of his suspension, but that he wanted to put the event behind him.

"Get a good night's sleep, but be ready tomorrow," the principal said. "It's like nothing has ever happened--I don't look back. I look forward."

At last night's meeting, several hundred teachers, parents and students rallied behind Sarasin, condemned his suspension and welcomed his reappointment.

"I owe a great deal to the people in the audience for their support," Sarasin said, drawing the longest and loudest applause of the night.

Even the students Sarasin suspended last week--who will return to class tomorrow--appeared to support their principal.

"I want the School Committee to hold the superintendent responsible for her actions over the last six months, as we have been held for ours," said ninth-grader Noah G. McIntire, an organizer of the walkout.

But some students questioned the involvement of the student body in budget conflicts. Sam Seidel, a student School Committee member, said that many of his peers were misinformed. He condemned faculty for criticizing the superintendent in front of students, and for trying to use the student body as a lever against budget cuts.

"We the students are being exploited," Seidel said. "And that must stop."

Russell visited several of the suspended students Monday at the home of Mary K. McGuire, senior class president and another organizer of the walkout.

McGuire said the students made efforts to keep up their studies outside of school.

"It hasn't been a waste of time at all," she said.

Sarasin said the students learned an important lesson about civil disobedience.

"As individuals, they learned that actions have consequences," Sarasin said

At last night's meeting, several hundred teachers, parents and students rallied behind Sarasin, condemned his suspension and welcomed his reappointment.

"I owe a great deal to the people in the audience for their support," Sarasin said, drawing the longest and loudest applause of the night.

Even the students Sarasin suspended last week--who will return to class tomorrow--appeared to support their principal.

"I want the School Committee to hold the superintendent responsible for her actions over the last six months, as we have been held for ours," said ninth-grader Noah G. McIntire, an organizer of the walkout.

But some students questioned the involvement of the student body in budget conflicts. Sam Seidel, a student School Committee member, said that many of his peers were misinformed. He condemned faculty for criticizing the superintendent in front of students, and for trying to use the student body as a lever against budget cuts.

"We the students are being exploited," Seidel said. "And that must stop."

Russell visited several of the suspended students Monday at the home of Mary K. McGuire, senior class president and another organizer of the walkout.

McGuire said the students made efforts to keep up their studies outside of school.

"It hasn't been a waste of time at all," she said.

Sarasin said the students learned an important lesson about civil disobedience.

"As individuals, they learned that actions have consequences," Sarasin said

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