Marchers support public education at Skinner Butte Park

Students, parents and teachers rallied in Skinner Butte Park Sunday to emphasize the importance of public education. (SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. – Students of all ages gathered in Eugene and pleaded for support for the public education system Sunday. They’re fueled by the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Betsy DeVos as the new secretary of education.

Students, parents, and teachers spread their message supporting public education as they marched at Skinner Butte Park.

Three students spoke about the benefits of public education.

“You might not know something that schools can teach you,” said Brooklynn Sliger, a second grade student.

Some parents and teachers say they are concerned DeVos will value alternative education over public schools.

“My child is a second grader and he doesn't have the schools that he deserves and neither do the rest of our students,” said Tina Leaton, a teacher and parent.

Leaton has been a public teacher for 18 years. She said she has seen budget cuts throughout her career.

“It’s important we work toward those schools our students deserve,” she said.

Everyone marched with a purpose: to increase funding for public schools.

“Appropriate funding, so you know, every kid can get a great education and make something of themselves,” said Jeff Orlandini, a parent.

Event organizers said the march was not an attempt to get political, but an opportunity to give students a chance for their voices to be heard.

“People didn't have education, then they couldn't get jobs and then no one would be able to do anything,” said Sam Parsons, a fifth grade student.

One organizer said she estimated around 150 people attended the march Sunday.

At the march, students wrote messages to Betsy DeVos on poster-sized cards.

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