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Pomona High School students walk out to protest creative programs cuts

Last week, Jeffco Public Schools told 9NEWS that student elective requests inform decisions made at the school.

ARVADA, Colo. — A group of students at a high school in Arvada, once known for its instrumental music program, walked out of class on Tuesday to protest changes to various creative programs at the school.

Administrators recently announced budget cuts affecting classes at Pomona High School including journalism, theater and music. The cuts are scheduled to take effect in the next school year.

"I'm supporting journalism, I'm supporting choir, I'm supporting band," Bryn Vaughn, a Pomona freshman, said during the walkout. "I just don't want these programs to be cut."

The students who left school held up signs as they stood in the grass along Wadsworth Boulevard. Drivers who went by honked in support.

Erin McGovern, a high school senior and member of the school's orchestra, said she helped organize the walkout to bring awareness to the students' message.

"Within the school, our arts program is being massively cut next year," she said. "We're losing all of our advanced groups, we're losing a lot of our extracurriculars and across the district, a lot of schools are facing the same types of cuts where it's crippling the music program, and so we want to use this to draw attention to that."

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Credit: 9NEWS
Pomona walkout

Last week, Jeffco Public Schools told 9NEWS that student elective requests inform decisions made at the school.

“Student’s course selection requests inform staffing decisions at the school, particularly around electives," the district said via email. "Based on Pomona High School student selections, a full-time instrumental and vocal teacher was not warranted for the 2022-2023 school year. Students who signed up for instrumental and vocal music courses will have the opportunity to take these courses from excellent music teachers who are shared among multiple school campuses.”

It's a message, McGovern said, that misses the point.

"We're not angry about the individual school cuts, albeit that's a big part of what fueled this. We want the change at the district level," she said.

In addition to the walkout, more than 7,500 community members have signed an online petition to protest the loss of Pomona's full-time instrumental music teacher.

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