Garfield High School AP US History teacher Jesse Hagopian lead a group of fellow teachers and protesters in Olympia Monday, calling for a citizen’s arrest of the legislature for breaking the law by underfunding education.
Slog posted the following video from a tipster:
Brandishing a pair of handcuffs, Hagopian told the police that rather than arresting protesters (no one was actually arrested), they should go down to the house chamber and arrest legislators for not upholding the state constitution. “Arrest them, not the people that don’t have camping permits,” he said, echoing Matt Taibbi’s call in Rolling Stone for the NYPD to stop focusing on the Wall Street protesters and arrest the people who caused the financial crisis instead.
In February 2010, King County Superior Judge John Erlick ruled in the case Network for Excellence in Washington Schools vs. Washington State (the ongoing case brought by education groups and parents challenging the state’s declining funding for K-12 schools) that state policy was unconstitutional because education is identified in the state constitution as the state’s “paramount duty.” (K-12 funding has dropped from 50 percent to 41 percent of the state budget over the last several decades—and has taken a $2.5 billion hit in the last three years.)
“I came down to Olympia today to demand that the state fulfill its constitutional duty,” Hagopian said. “The kids in my classroom should come before tax loopholes for some of the wealthiest corporations in the world.”