Provided by Sebastian Olfatmanesh

Freshman Sebastian Olfatmanesh plays a guitar in a rented music studio on March 21 to prepare for the upcoming spring concert and rescheduled open house performance.

Students take advantage of time off campus as strike continues

March 22, 2023

As the three-day Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 99 strike continues, sophomore Vanessa Morales is taking the opportunity to catch up on work for her AP World History class.

“I think this strike has a positive effect on AP students,” Morales said. “We can use this time to study and get things off our plate. So when we get back to school, we’ll be caught up and ahead.”

SEIU Local 99 began their strike yesterday, causing all Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) campuses to close down in the process. Due to this, students are left with three days to keep themselves busy until school resumes on March 24. Daniel Pearl Magnet High School students are occupying themselves in a variety of ways, from finishing missing assignments to indulging in neglected hobbies to hanging out with friends.

“Honestly I’m glad that (SEIU) is going on strike because they deserve more than what they are getting,” said senior Jiszelle Arana, who plans to catch up on work for AP English Language and her film school program. “They do a lot for the students and not going to school in support of them is the least we, as students, can do.”

Many students like Morales and Arana plan to take advantage of their available days to catch up on school work, especially for AP and online classes. While there are some who are glad to have a few extra days of work time to themselves, others miss the collaborative environment that school provides.

“I feel like these days off will affect me negatively since it blocks out days of instruction I would greatly need, especially for my geometry class,” sophomore Isaac Herrera said. “As I learn new concepts, I feel like I need in-person instruction for me to understand.”

Some students are simply using their days off to unwind and take a break after a stressful finals week. Others are using their free time to knock some things off of their to-do list that they haven’t had the time for recently. Senior Ralph Uy De Ong plans to study for his written permit test, which he has been putting aside to focus on school instead.

“I feel a little happy because I have time to relax a little bit,” Uy De Ong said. “At least some of us will have time just to complete things that we haven’t been able to work on, like for example my permit.”

Many musicians in the Advanced Band class have been practicing for weeks in preparation for an open house performance originally scheduled for March 23. Although open house is now postponed to a later date, many of the musicians are planning to continue practicing during the strike, including Arana and Uy De Ong. Freshman Sebastian Olfatmanesh rented a music studio on March 21 to practice with friends for the upcoming spring shows and rescheduled open house.

“When I heard for the first time about the strike and that (open house) might be canceled, I was kind of sad because there was a song that I was waiting to play,” Olfatmanesh said. “But since it’s postponed, it gives more time (to practice). It’s beneficial for people to learn their parts more.”

LAUSD has also provided learning activities, both digital and physical, for students of all grades to do during the strike. Sophomore Alexa Garay’s sister, who’s in third grade, doesn’t feel confident enough to do them by herself without the guidance of a teacher.

“She feels a bit intimidated by the (packets),” said Garay, who is working extra hours at her part-time job as a dental clinic receptionist during the strike. “She thinks it’s a good thing having them there but she’s just overall too nervous to do them because she doesn’t have a teacher there to help her along the way.”

Regardless of how students choose to spend their time during the strike, many said they are supporting SEIU from a distance.

“I think it’s great that LAUSD workers are standing up for themselves and in a way fighting for the resources that they need, especially since they play such a large role in our society,” Garay said. “They are doing themselves good by fighting for what they need to survive.”

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