ATLANTA - Georgia teachers are fed up and they’re fighting for change. They even have a list of demands for lawmakers.
Those demands include ending 'zero tolerance' discipline and hiring more black teachers. The organizers of Educators for Black Lives Matter told us the overall goal is too dismantle systemic racism within education.
As they marched, the loud crowd chanted "Black students matter, Black students matter."
For nearly two hours, Educators and their supports marched through Downtown Atlanta until they reached Liberty Plaza outside the State Capitol.
"The main point of listing those demands is to dismantle the legislative policy in education," teacher and organizer Brittany O'Neal explained. "These demands will create equity that is needed in our education system."
Here are the eight demands the organization has for Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Legislature.
The educators said they are the ones deciding the future of marginalized youth who are oftentimes in schools that serve low-income students.
"We demand they mandate black history and ethnic studies for K-12," one teacher said.
With planned cuts to funding for local school districts in the state budget, teachers said they are concerned and disappointed.
"Kids who are in low socioeconomic schools are which are predominantly filled with black students are gonna hurt first because the other schools they have flooded money from their communities to help them," O'Neal detailed.
"There's other places we can take that from," Gwinnett County Teacher Lacey Jeanpierre said. "Kid can't eat at school, kids cant afford basic necessities at school, teachers cant."
Teachers gathered here Friday told us they face many challenges including being overworked and lacking support and resources for their kids.
They said black students are less likely to have access to college-ready courses.
"The structure of our discipline, it creates a prison pipeline because the kids become adaptive and that type of structure is what's seen in prison a lot of the time."
Teachers across Metro Atlanta who marched said changes are needed at the school, district, and state level.
They believe these reforms will ensure and recognize that black lives matter at school.
"We are seeing a lot of lacking at the ground level doing the work," teacher Dibett Lopez explained.
The organizer told us today’s march is just the beginning. They are planning to continue efforts calling on policymakers to make sure all students are given an equal opportunity.