Students Picket Child Labor

Holding signs and yelling call-and-response chants, history students picketed child labor in front of the middle school on Sept. 19 as part of a hands-on lesson.

The students have been learning about current child labor laws and children who were forced to work 10- to 14-hour days during the late 1800s and early 1900s as part of an eighth-grade unit on industrialization. To bring the lesson out of the classroom, social studies teachers organized the picket.

“Talking about picketing and actually picketing are two different experiences,” said social studies teacher Gregory Schmit. “One of the goals of the lesson is to create historical empathy.”

The lesson paid off for the students. Eighth-grader Vincent Aracri remarked after the picket, “I realize now how lucky we are that we get to go to school and get an education; these children didn’t have that opportunity.”