One hundred and thirty students from Ottawa Township High School in Ottawa, Illinois were suspended after protesting the school board’s decision to dismiss instructor Dave Keely and end the school’s Building Trades program.

Citing large budget deficits and declining enrollment in the program, the board said it could no longer afford to pay a full-time instructor. Students argued there were better places to cut costs and pointed to “exorbitant” salaries of administrators, a $2 million gym remodeling project, and future plans to provide an iPad for every student.

When some of the students became unruly they were ordered back to the classroom. Those who refused were suspended. Some reportedly lost their privilege to attend the prom.

In the following days demonstrations continued just off school property and student protesters were joined by parents and local tradesmen. That might have been the end of it, but then Mike Rowe heard about it and produced a video (see below) dedicated to the students who were suspended for protesting the closing of industrial arts program.

As retired laborer Mike Farrare put it when describing the actions of the school board, "They opened a can of worms here, didn't they?” And that was before Rowe, a strong proponent of trade education, became involved.

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