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North students picket with their teachers

Attendance has continued to drop off at North Medford High School since the beginning of the teachers' strike, students picketing today said.

Dozens of high school students stood outside during what should have been their fourth and last period of classes, saying they didn't see the point of attending school without their teachers.

"Most people are doing their own studying or staying home," said Maya Roussell, who attended school but mostly kept to the library and did her own work.

"I'm trying to make the best of it. But last block I decided to come out here and picket instead."

Roussell said some of the substitutes are taking classes into their own hands, attempting to interact with students instead of only supervising them.

"Some of the subs are doing their own thing, and I've had a couple subs interacting," she said.

The sophomore said she would probably continue to come to school in the morning and then picket for the duration of the strike.

"I feel like people are just kind of waiting it out," she said. "We're at a standstill."

Down the sidewalk from Roussell, senior Tomi Roderick was talking with his English teacher, Traci Peugh.

"It's a joke, the learning is a joke," said Roderick, who left after his first morning class.

Roderick said the students were assigned classrooms, but the classes weren't in a particular subject. He said he was with other seniors, but not those normally in his classes, and that there was no assignments given out. Students were just able to use computers, he said.

"I've been leaving to go work on my senior project," said Roderick.

Roderick said school had become more organized since Tuesday, the first day back to school, when he and the other seniors were assigned to stay in the commons or the library, supervised by two librarians.

"It makes me really sad," said Peugh, listening to Roderick describe the conditions inside the school. "We want to be in there, it's really hard."

Though many high school students reported leaving after getting attendance called at their first period class, others elected to stay for the full day, which ended around 12:30 p.m.

"If I didn't have to go, I wouldn't go," said freshman Audrey Sliger.

Sliger said her parents required her to attend classes, which she described as boring.

"We didn't learn anything, that's what everyone is saying," she said.

Sliger and friends Mariel Hollowell and Brittany Brockbank said things had gotten a little more organized since Tuesday, but classes remained excessively large or small.

"The teachers aren't really teaching us anything," said Hollowell.

— Teresa Ristow