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September 25, 2018

Hannibal Students Protest Possible Loss of Sports, Music, Art With Silence


Students mass along the square in Hannibal for a protest against possible cuts to sports, music and arts. Photo courtesy NewsChannel 9.

Students mass along the square in Hannibal for a protest against possible cuts to sports, music and arts. Photo courtesy NewsChannel 9.

Dozens of students in Hannibal High School taped their mouths shut for the day Wednesday and staged a silent after-school protest in the village square against possible budget cuts that could claim their sports teams, bands, choruses and art classes.

Students say they came up with the idea of a silent protest. They put a small tape logo over their mouths and sat silently in class after class, said students Zach Welling and Kate Sullivan, two of the students who helped organize the day of protest.

Students in the square in Hannibal during the afternoon protest. Photo contributed by Kate Sullivan.

Students in the square in Hannibal during the afternoon protest. Photo contributed by Kate Sullivan.

“We participated with head gestures or writing answers on paper,” said Welling. Sullivan said that in her Spanish class, only three students were not part of the protest. “It was no disrespect to the teachers,” she said. “We just wanted them to know how we feel.” Welling said the group sent letters to teachers to let them know about the protest and to say it was not aimed at them.

Superintendent of Schools Mike DiFabio recently walked the Board of Education through a disastrous budget scenario for 2010-11. He said the district could cut every program not required by law and the money saved would cover only about half of the Governor’s cut in state aid to Hannibal. Those cuts included some education programs for low-scoring and advanced students, clubs and activities such as the yearbook, prom and senior trip, but also would eliminate school sports, the music program and most art classes.

School officials have been told time and again that they’ll be lucky if the proposed cut is the only cut they suffer; more cuts are possible. At the same time, local lawmakers are trying to press the state to change the formula that imposed such a heavy cut on Hannibal, a land-poor district.

After all of the cuts in DiFabio’s worst-case scenario, it would still require a 20% tax increase to fill the remaining $800,000 gap.

The athletic booster club has already told the school district that it will not try to raise funds to save school sports if they’re cut this year. The district has approached its unions, seeking contract concessions to help fill some of the massive gap.

Students make their point at the end of a day of protect against possible budget cuts. Photo contributed by Kate Sullivan.

Students make their point at the end of a day of protect against possible budget cuts. Photo contributed by Kate Sullivan.

Against that backdrop, athletes, musicians and artists joined the protest. “One of the signs today said ‘Cut our sports, cut our arts, cut our voices’,” Welling said.

Without sports, music and art, “It’s gonna crush us,” Sullivan said.

The group, called Save Our School, is planning other activities, though nothing specific has been set yet.

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2 Responses “Hannibal Students Protest Possible Loss of Sports, Music, Art With Silence”

  1. Jessica
    March 11, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I give props to all those students who stood up for what they believe in.As you get older you look back at your high school days ,yearbooks and those special events such as prom senior trip and so on.What will these students remember?What memories will have they have besides knowing that they went to school everyday and just sat at a desk all day and nothing else.School is for learning I understand that but those special things are needed as well! I give thanks to those students who are fighting for this.I have my own child plus other family members that attend Hannibal but are in lower grades by these HS students fighting for this these younger kid’s may still have a chance.It’s things like these that make the younger crowd get in trouble b/c there will be nothing left to do.I would rather pay more taxes(I know its not easy) but think of the children and the staff of these schools.Hannibal will be gone if they cut all this people will be grabbing their children and moving out of Hannibal district just so their children can have feild trips,yearbooks most important sports and prom!!

  2. diana
    March 12, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    I would just like to ask these board members when the last time they saw a college application? I remember that it looks better if you are not only a good student, but you are also involved. They are not setting these kids up to be sucessful if they don’t allow them the chance. By not allowing them to participate in exta activities it really is going to hurt chances these kids have at college. Not to mention the scholarships that they could be getting from these activities.

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