There are a couple of things you should keep in mind when planning an action. First, you should decide among your group exactly what the point is you want to make and then move on to figuring out what is the best, most effective, and creative way to make your point. In my experience, it is a very good idea to keep all that you are planning quite secret. Most school administrators are not fond of any kind of activism which puts blame on the school system, so make careful choices about who exactly you decide to share your ideas with.

Each situation you will find yourself in will be different and will, therefore, require different approaches to getting your demands met. IT IS CRUCIAL THAT YOU NEGOTIATE FIRST. Before you can protest, you must have something to protest about. Even if you know what the answer is that your administration will give you, it is still important to negotiate through a meeting with the administration. You can use their response as evidence of what their stance is on connection to, or control over, the aspect of the school you are talking about. It never pays to go straight to the big powerful people in a school adminstration because they, most likely, will send you to someone in a less significant position. Start at the bottom and work your way up. For example, you might talk to the health education teacher before you talk to the principal.

When you meet with administrators or faculty, you should always know what exactly you object to in the school; know why and how it should be different, and have a detailed description of what you would change and what you would propose to be implemented. You must remember that you must know exactly what you want as well as how and by when you want it done, if you expect any administrator to take you seriously.

Play by their rules. Do petitions and surveys of the student population and present the results to the administrator(s) you are dealing with. All of this will boost your credibility and will lower the number of things that the administration has to hold against you. If it turns out that your group's demands are not being met, then you will be able to say that you have done everything the school suggested you should do to have your issue addressed. you have spoken to the appropriate and recommended people in the administration about your issue, and you have a proposal for change as well as data to back it up.

You must negotiate repeatedly with the administration. Only when it is absolutely clear that they have not, and are not going to meet your demands, is it time to take direct action or to do an act of civil disobedience.



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