“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are (people) who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.” 

-Frederick Douglass

Those are beautiful and powerful words. What follows is a story from Frederick Douglas Academy who were expelled for following them.

Detroit students suspended for protest


Students kicked out of school for demanding better eduction
Posted Wed, 2012-04-04 15:01 by Sonya Eskridge, s2smagazine.com
                        Students kicked out of school for demanding better eduction

Students in Detroit are being reprimanded for wanting to improve their education.

About 50 students from the Frederick Douglass Academy have been suspended for demanding better from the faculty, The Detroit Free Press reports. The decision to kick the kids out of school came after they staged a walk-out.

“We’ve been wronged and disrespected and lied to and cheated,” said Tevin Hill, a senior at the all-boys school. “They didn’t listen to us when we complained to the administration. They didn’t listen to the parents when they complained to the administration, so I guess this is the only way to get things solved.”

Students were fed up with a number of things at the school, including inconsistent teachers and text book shortages. The boys also took issue with the academy’s principal being reassigned. Along with these complaints were also claims that some faculty have abused sick leave.

Specifically, Sharise Smith claims that her son’s math teacher had called out more than 68 days during a school year. Sharise’s son was given an A in geometry despite the fact that he never took a final exam in the class.

“It was by default, just for showing up. It wasn’t because he earned an A,” said Sharise, who has two sons at the school. “They’re failing these young black men.”

While most students across the country would be okay with being handed an A, students at the academy are concerned that the lackadaisical administration of their school will leave them unprepared for college.

For example, Tevin told reporters that he was at a marked disadvantage while taking a math placement test for Bowling Green University. “I’m generally good in math, but I was embarrassed. I didn’t know any of it,” he said.

“I literally couldn’t answer a question on there,” Tevin told The Detroit News. “Right now, I’m not going to be as successful as I should be because I haven’t been properly taught.”

Reportedly so many teachers have been out that students have just had to congregate in common areas of the school. A rep for the Detroit Public School system had no comment on the matter other than that “teachers who abuse sick time will be reprimanded.”



—Sonya Eskridge