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How One Team of High School Journalists is Covering the L.A. Teachers Strike on Their Campus

12:40 PM PST on January 22, 2019

Photo by Sam Torres, The Pearl Post

[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]lgebra classes are overcrowded and restrooms are often missing essential necessities at tiny Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa. After seeing the effects of low public school budgets firsthand, budding journalists at the school’s newspaper realized that their perspective is both unique and needed in the local news landscape.

“Maybe reporters could be more open minded to what students are going through, and to value education,” said Michael Chidbachian, online editor-in-chief of The Pearl Post. Chidbachian said that one L.A. Times article “made it pretty obvious that they were supporting the school district.”

Indeed, students at The Pearl Post are young, sharp and will probably come for everyone’s bylines in the future. The student journalists have been diligently covering the UTLA strike, which ended Tuesday, and they’ve been doing it with unique voices – like this video compilation of student opinions on their campus.

Daniel Pearl Magnet High School is in the San Fernando Valley and is a part of LAUSD. The school offers a focus on journalism and communications.

After seeing witnessing both conditions at DPMHS and their teachers striking, The Pearl Post reporters whipped out their pencils and began reporting. “As students, we’re the ones being affected,” Editor-in-Chief Kirsten Cintigo told L.A. Taco. “We’re writing the truth, others might be biased.”

Spanish teacher Marta Rodriguez and resource teacher Sadia Aziz talk with a parent when teachers distributed fliers on union contract negotiations with the school district back in October. Photo by Alliana Samonte/The Pearl Post.

Cintigo, said that the small school of just 355 students faces overcrowded classrooms. “Classrooms end up being huge,” she said, adding that at least one class had as many as 49 students.

Algebra classes got particularly full causing some students to struggle, needing more one on one attention from teachers, Chidbachian pointed out.

The young reporters all told L.A. Taco about their budget-related woes. The school only has around two teachers per subject for the entire school and the Pre-Calc class is poised to be moved to an online classroom next term.

Also, the students pointed out that the low budgets caused the school to struggle to afford necessities, even basics like restroom supplies.

Math teacher Leslie Hicks partakes in the UTLA strike on January 14. Photo by Mahali Sanchez, The Pearl Post.

According to reporter Casey Wanatick, corporate media outlets don’t understand students and teachers. “They aren’t affected by low budgets from the school district,” Wanatick explained.

Covering the strike was a way of covering history, staff writer Itzel Luna told L.A. Taco. “Our teachers are fighting for our rights by risking their financial stability and covering the strike is a way for me to support and help my teachers.”

RELATED: Teachers Strike Ends ~ Teachers Are Expected Back in L.A. Schools Wednesday

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