About 50 students from Military Academy at Elverson gathered near district headquarters yesterday to express their frustration with the district's looming budget deficit and potential cuts.
The students, dressed in JROTC uniforms, walked out of their school, at 13th Street near Susquehanna Avenue, and walked to 440 North Broad around 1p.m.
But moments into their demonstration, students say district officials and school police escorted them off and away the building, threatening them with truancy.
Not to be deterred, students walked half a block away and continued their rally.
"If we don't speak up when will we be heard," said senior Brittany Love. "We're fighting for the younger ones. We're afraid the school will be shutting down and teachers will be teaching bigger classes."
The district has to cut $49 million from this year's $3.2 billion budget and more than $400 million for next year. Those cuts could include layoffs, school closings, hiring freezes, and larger class sizes, among other cutbacks.
"We don't even have good resources, they might as well shut the school down," added another student.
Among other complaints, senior Glen Harrell said that in several classes students don't have textbooks, while many of the school's seniors have to share a single calculator during a test.
"We had to borrow one teacher's calculator and pass it around the class, but she's not even here anymore," said Harrell.
Elverson is one of 45 schools that have more than half of their seats empty, according to an article by the Public School Notebook one student waved around during the demonstration.
The district recently reported that they have 70,000 empty seats throughout the district.