Student calls teacher walkout 'selfish,' says it causes major disruptions to learning

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Lillian Santa Cruz isn't a fan of the teacher walkout and said it disrupts learning. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Lillian Santa Cruz isn't a fan of the teacher walkout and said it disrupts learning. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The eighth-grader said she supports teachers getting the raise, but feels the walkout has gone too far. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The eighth-grader said she supports teachers getting the raise, but feels the walkout has gone too far. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Her school, Copperwood Elementary, will be closing Thursday and Friday because of the walkout. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Her school, Copperwood Elementary, will be closing Thursday and Friday because of the walkout. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

“When I first heard about the walkout I felt like it was an extremely selfish decision made by the state’s most selfless people,” said Lillian Santa Cruz.

It was a powerful statement by the eighth-grader, who instead of getting excited about her eighth-grade graduation, is worrying about if she can graduate at all.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona schools in crisis]

“I feel like we got the bad side of all of it,” said Lillian.

And here’s why. Her school, Copperwood Elementary, will be closing Thursday and Friday because of the walkout. Their eighth-grade graduation is still scheduled for May 22, but she said there are mandatory days at the end of the school year students have to attend to get their diplomas. Those now must be made up after the graduation ceremony on specific dates the school just decided on, and Lillian won't be here.

[RELATED: Arizona teachers vote to walk out on Thursday, April 26 over education funding]

“We have a planned and paid for vacation on the days when the makeups are scheduled to be,” she said.

Lillian said the school hasn't offered any other solution to those mandatory days but said she knows several classmates who are in the same bind.

[RELATED: Arizona school districts release plans for teacher walkout]

“A lot of my friends won’t be here for those makeup days so we’re missing those days of learning," she said.

The eighth-grader said she supports teachers getting the raise, but feels the walkout has gone too far, forcing families to scramble to find childcare this week.

[RELATED: Valley businesses step up to watch students if teacher walkout forces districts to close schools]

“We’re old enough to stay home but I do have friends whose parents are taking off because their siblings are not old enough to stay home alone,” said Lillian.

[RELATED: 'Stay on the job!' AZ school superintendent urges teachers not to strike]

She believes the walk-ins and “Red for Ed” social media awareness were very effective, without causing major disruption to classroom learning. She’s now calling on the government to figure out this mess that's affecting hundreds of thousands of students like her.

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“I do think they need the raise and I think we need to find the money to give them that raise. However, I feel like walking out on us is not the way to do it at all,” said Lillian.

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Briana WhitneyBriana Whitney joined CBS 5/3TV in February 2018, and is no stranger to the sunshine and heat!

Click to learn more about Briana.

Briana Whitney

She’s from Northern California, but prior to coming to Phoenix, she reported at KIII-TV in Corpus Christi, TX for three years.

During her time in South Texas, she reported on several national stories. Some of the most memorable were the 2015 Wimberley floods, reporting for eight hours off the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Harvey in August of 2017, and reporting from the church shooting in Sutherland Springs in November of 2017.

Her general assignment reporting won her two Associated Press awards, six EMMY awards, and one Emmy nomination for a half-hour special she wrote, produced and hosted on the issue of child pornography.

Briana graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and during college had seven different internships at several news stations.

When she isn’t chasing breaking news or working on a feature story, Briana loves checking out the best restaurants in the Valley, and hiking or rollerblading around town. Briana is very happy to have made Arizona home!

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