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High school students plan walkout

Students at North and South Medford high schools plan to walk out of class at 8:35 a.m. this morning if a contract settlement is not reached between the Medford School District and its striking teachers' union.

Basketball teams from the two schools came together Wednesday to express their frustration with the ongoing strike and set in motion a plan to walk out of their classes and sit in the hallways.

"Sitting in the hallways is just as beneficial as sitting in class for some of us," said Aaron Browne-Moore, North Medford High School's student body president and a basketball player.

Students are expected to remain in the hallway, or at least remain on school grounds during the walkout, said Browne-Moore, a 17-year-old senior.

The message is directed at both the district and the teachers, Browne-Moore said.

"I think there is a point when the students and the athletes, being the middle men, need to do something to kind of tell them to get a move on," he said. "We can't be taking our time throughout this whole thing. Really, my message here to both sides is to not be as stubborn with each other and be doing it more for the kids at this point, because we're at a standstill."

Browne-Moore said the walkout plan will be spread to students at both schools through social media.

Players from the boys and girls varsity basketball teams at North Medford High School and the girls varsity basketball team at South Medford High School attended the meeting at Baci's Pizza and Pasta and voted to walk out by raising hands in support of the idea.

A press conference involving the teams was organized by former North Medford High School softball coach Larry Binney, but once student-athletes finished expressing their concerns about the strike, they began to discuss the possibility of a walkout.

"I think at this point it's just frustrating ... . We have people in positions of authority who aren't willing to compromise and aren't willing to work things out right now," said Jasmin Falls, a sophomore at South Medford High School. "I just hope that this can come to an end quickly and we can all get back into the routine of things, because I think it's throwing everybody off."

North and South sports teams may be fierce rivals on the court and playing fields, but they came together Wednesday to deliver a unified message.

"I am not really picking a side between the board and the teachers, but seeing our teachers out on the street every morning is kind of getting old," said North Medford senior Hannah Anderson. "There are rivalries, but I think it's good that we can come together because we are all students of the Medford School District.

"We're over it."

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4471 or swheeler@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/swhlr.

North Medford’s Aaron Browne-Moore talks to basketball teams from North and South Medford high schools Wednesday as the players came together to urge district officials and teachers to reach a settlement. - Jamie Lusch