Whetsone High School students picket in solidarity with teachers

Several Whetstone High School students joined teachers on the picket line to support them amid ongoing contract negotiations with the school board.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As the first day of remote learning begins for students at Columbus City Schools, many students at Whetstone High School have chosen to begin their school year in solidarity with their teachers — on strike.

More than 25 students gathered outside of their high school on Wednesday where they held their own picket alongside teachers and Columbus Education Association members. The students began picking at 9 am

RELATED: Students begin school year remotely as Columbus teachers’ strike entered third day

Several students who joined the picket on Wednesday told 10TV they are not going to log in to class during the strike because they consider that “crossing the picket line.”

District leaders told parents last night during a virtual meeting that anyone not in class will be given an unexcused absence.

Larae Portis, a senior at Whetstone and student council president, told 10TV that she and other seniors have felt “down” about how their senior year is starting.

“I don’t think they’re asking for a lot. I know a lot of people think it’s about their salaries or their pay and stuff like that, but that’s not 100% what it’s about. It’s more about the leaking holes and the ceiling, or when it leaks when it rains, or the AC not being on, or it being hot, or parents having to bring water to the school because it’s so hot in the school and stuff like that ,” Portis said.

The CEA voted to strike on Sunday after 22 meetings and failed negotiations with the Columbus Board of Education.

The union plans to picket until the board offers “safe, properly maintained and full resourced schools in every neighborhood,” according to CEA spokesperson Regina Fuentes.

The federal mediator overseeing the ongoing contract negotiations has called for a meeting between the school board and CEA again Wednesday at 1 pm