Fifth Estate Collective

Cass Tech Protests

Protesting the threat of the removal of their school performing arts curriculum, about five hundred students from Cass Technical High School demonstrated at the Schools Center Building on Woodward November 26.

Mrs. Betty Gittlen, a parent, asked simply for the board to “state clearly that it will maintain Cass Tech as an undistributed, city-wide, specialized high school with its present curricula intact.”

The issue originally centered around a two million dollar Performing Arts Trade Center to be built onto Northwestern High School. It later, however, evolved a movement to keep Cass as the type of specialized school that it is.

Cass Tech differs from the regular comprehensive high school in that a student must enter one of almost 30 specialized curricula. The school will accept only students with at least average grades although individual curricula may have higher requirements.

The students picketed in front of the building, then moved inside, occupying the first floor, while representatives were making a formal protest at the meeting of the Board of Education.

The demonstration was organized by the Cass Student Association, a group organized this year to maintain the quality of Cass Tech and to serve in areas of student rights which it’s founders feel are not being handled by the Student Council.

Student spokesman at the board meeting was Paul Davis, who emphasized that he was not trying to fight Northwestern, but that Cass Tech should not be destroyed.

According to the Superintendent’s Pipeline, an interdepartmental newsletter which summarizes the board meeting, “It (Cass) is a vital part of the Detroit Public School system and will continue to serve the entire City of Detroit as it has for many decades.” No reassurance was given as to the status of the curriculum system.


Fifth Estate #68, December 12–25, 1968