LOS ANGELES -- A professor and six students from Cal State University Northridge were arrested Thursday evening after a confrontation with police during a protest against education cuts, according to university spokesman Vance Peterson.
Peterson said a group of about 25 people marched into the intersection at Reseda Boulevard and Prairie Street on the western edge of the campus and sat down, blocking traffic.
He said the professor and six students were taken into custody around 7 p.m. when police asked them to disperse and they refused. The rest of the crowd then started breaking up, Peterson said.
Los Angeles Police Department Officer Rosario Herrera of the Los Angeles Police Department said officers had been on the scene since noon, but things changed when "protesters derailed from their path."
More than 300 students, faculty and staff held a very orderly protest for much of the day.
The protests at CSUN were among several staged by teachers, parents and students in Los Angeles and across the state as part of a "Day of Action." The goal is to stop the governor and Legislature from cutting billions from a public school system already reeling from $17 billion in cuts over the past two years.
The education cuts could lead to some 5,200 LAUSD employees losing their jobs.
Walkouts were reported at six LAUSD schools, involving about 540 students in all, many of whom then returned to class, according to officials.
Outside Farmdale Elementary School in the El Sereno area, members of United Teachers Los Angeles handed out leaflets to parents urging them to get involved in the fight against budget cuts.
"It's a bad sign. I mean, I can see people getting laid off from work, but not education-wise. That's ... it's the future of America," John Contreras, who has seven grandchildren, told KTLA outside the school.
Campus police estimated that about 500 students and teachers gathered at UCLA's Bruin Plaza after a lunchtime walkout from classes.
Later, a crowd held a sit-in at Murphy Hall, the campus's main administrative building, but police prevented them from reaching the office of Chancellor Gene Block.
Demonstrators also gathered at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles, where they staged a march to the nearby Ronald Reagan State Building on Spring Street.
"These are the largest cuts our students have seen since the Great Depression and they will hurt a generation of students, robbing them of the future they deserve," said David A. Sanchez, president of the California Teachers Association.
"Now the governor is proposing $2.5 billion in additional cuts -- and wants to renege on an agreement signed into law last summer to repay schools more than $11 billion they are owed," Sanchez said.
On Tuesday, the LAUSD board unanimously approved layoffs affecting nearly 5,200 employees as a way to close an expected $640 million budget gap.
Among those facing possible pink slips are teachers, administrators, counselors and nurses.
The decision is not yet final as the board wants union leaders to enter negotiations that could make some layoffs unnecessary.
Even if teachers are let go, the district sometimes rescinds such notices if more money becomes available.
In the past, that has generally happened after May 15th.
Opponents say the cuts would increase class sizes and completely eliminate school nurse and librarian positions.