Tuesday, January 27, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

1954 Armijo student strike made national news

strike pic of extra

The extra edition of The Solano Republican newspaper (click image to view gallery)

By
From page A2 | June 20, 2014 |

The Armijo Union High School student body made nationwide news when students staged an impromptu strike May 11, 1954. The walkout was to protest the firing of two popular staff members, teacher John P. Marchak and vice principal/teacher George Quetin.

The story began three months earlier on Feb. 8 when a delegation of 18 parents brought allegations to the school board that Mr. Marchak had taught atheism, Communism, gave improper sex instruction and had disparaged the Catholic Church.

Marchak denied the charges and allegedly was never told who the accusers were.

The Ethics Commission of the California Teachers Association was invited by Quetin to help with an investigation. After testimony was taken from 70 witnesses, the CTA issued a report March 30 that cleared Marchak of the charges and recommending that he be retained unless he did not have community support.

On May 10, the school board voted not to renew Marchak’s contract and, at the request of Armijo principal Loren Wann, not to renew the contract of Quetin as well.

The next morning when the bell rang at 8:30 a.m., 450 Armijo students clustered in groups on the lawn in front of the school, then located on Union Avenue, and refused to go to classes. They chanted “We want Quetin! We want Marchak!”

Principal Wann urged them to go to their classes, but they refused. Later they filed into the Armijo auditorium and student speakers demanded to know the reasons for the dismissal of Quetin. Wann offered only to tell Quetin in private.

The students and principal went back and forth until about 11 a.m., then Wann suggested they reconvene at 1:30 p.m. Students were to return with their parents and the school board would be present.

The students then staged a downtown demonstration with at least 25 cars in a procession bearing banners that read “We Want Quetin, Down with Wann” and other slogans.

At 1:30 p.m., the packed auditorium was heated and repeated calls were made for why Quetin was let go. Finally at 2:45 p.m., Wann’s list of nine reasons Quetin was let go was produced and included things like “Very often you draw conclusions without getting all the facts” and “You express your opinions.”

They were greeted with catcalls and laughter. Quetin speculated the real reason was because he had brought the CTA into the Marchak investigation.

That evening, yet another meeting was called, and 500 parents showed up (students were asked not to come). After heated exchanges between parents and the school board, a 22-member Citizens Committee for Armijo High was created and passed a resolution calling for Quetin and Marchak to be reinstated and for the five members of the school board to resign.

“My mother was not one to keep her opinions to herself, so my family was right there in the mix when we gathered at the auditorium that night,” Karen McDonald Ramsden, Class of 1956, said. “The activities of the day were rather overwhelming to us as lowerclassmen, and we were definitely the followers and not the leaders.”

The Solano Republican newspaper printed a free extra special edition, its first in 25 years, that was distributed to every home in Fairfield, Suisun City and rural areas.

The school board stuck by its decision. Teachers did not have tenure at Armijo and thus hiring and firing was under the board’s purview. Armijo teachers expressed fears for their jobs anonymously in the press. The CTA warned that Armijo would in effect be put on a “blacklist” of places for potential teachers not to go.

The next week, the Citizen’s Committee sent a delegation to the State Department of Education in Sacramento to try to get Marchak and Quetin reinstated. State officials told them their hands were tied as the state had to respect local control.

Class of 1954’s Warren Sheldon provided post-scripts to the whole incident.

“The board relieved Principal Wann of his duties in 1956. He became the field rep of the State Department of Education and died in Pollock Pines in 1980. Mr. Quetin became the Selma High School principal and died in 1973. Mr. Marchak disappeared. Marchak and Quetin must have been good teachers because after all these years, former students still speak well of them.”

Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at toekneeweighed@gmail.com.

Tony Wade

Tony Wade

Tony Wade is the slightly older yet infinitely more handsome brother of long-time DR columnist Kelvin Wade
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Health officials report 1st Solano flu death

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Fairfield man who says he accidentally kicked woman, faces charges

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
 
American Legion Post schedules head-shaving fundraiser

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A6

Rush Ranch seeks docents

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A2

 
Dramas, thrillers lead week’s box office openings

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B6

Vacaville Toastmasters welcome guests

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Kroc Health Fair offers free screenings

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1

 
Chipotle fundraiser to benefit Armijo newspaper

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

Vacaville council eyes earlier start time

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page:

 
.

US / World

Facebook suffers outage affecting users worldwide

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Private wells in California farm area show high uranium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Budget for Koch-backed network: almost $1 billion for 2016

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ex-Army prosecutor found guilty of rape at court-martial

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

California may dam 3 Delta channels, if drought persists

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Law enforcement wants popular police-tracking app disabled

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Gov’t to overhaul Medicare payments to doctors, hospitals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cuban youth build secret computer network despite Wi-Fi ban

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Seekers of the Hollywood Sign disrupt nearby neighborhood

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
2 small planes crash-land off Hawaii; all aboard survive

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Report: State worker sent alarming notes before gun arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Panic attack, bad back: Theater shooting brings jury excuses

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Lawyer: Boy Scout files depict ‘sordid’ history of abuse

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Dwindling group of survivors to mark Auschwitz 70 years on

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

New Jersey’s Christie launches political action committee

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
US drone strikes resume in Yemen despite turmoil

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Monster snowstorm swirls into densely populated Northeast US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Kurds celebrate ousting Islamic State fighters from Kobani

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Man takes responsibility for drone over White House

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

2 sides to state highways rehab backlog

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Jan. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

Petty earns writing credit for Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
National Cowboy Poetry Gathering begins in northeast Nevada

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Trainor and Styles write a duet about heartbreak

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Emma Watson to star in live-action ‘Beauty and the Beast’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
SAG Awards win sends ‘Birdman’ Oscar hopes soaring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Cumberbatch says sorry for calling black actors ‘colored’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
A murder at the edge of the world takes ‘Fortitude’ to crack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Lawyers: Melissa Rivers files lawsuit in mother Joan’s death

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Sundance Watch: ‘Cobain’ premieres, women talk Hollywood

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

TVGrid Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
.

Sports

Manfred knows he’ll get hit as commish _ his name is on ball

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
NASCAR to leave championship format unchanged in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Kobe Bryant to have shoulder surgery, likely out for season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Tim Brown hopes 6th time is charm in Hall of Fame vote

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raiders sign Charles Woodson for 2015 season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Rams notify St. Louis they’ll go year-to-year on dome lease

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Gamecocks still No. 1; Chattanooga joins women’s hoops poll

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Scott Dixon shines in masterful final drive in Rolex win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
LeBron, Cavs climb in standings, back in title conversation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Capitals among East contenders; West race too tight to call

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Playoff not interested in moving semis of New Year’s Eve

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Fireworks help celebrate Venus Williams’ Australian Open run

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
US women to host New Zealand, Ireland, Mexico, South Korea

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

NBA D-League All-Star events set for Feb. 15 in Brooklyn

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
AP Source: Los Angeles Kings release Mike Richards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Hope Solo could be left off US World Cup roster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Employers: Agreement made on key issue in port labor dispute

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Lyft cars doing away with pink furry mustache

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

California draws $3.2 billion in federal health subsidies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Hard Rock (again) dips toe into Atlantic City casino market

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

US stock market finishes with small gains

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
IBM disputes report that big layoffs coming

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Union says California Kaiser nurses reach contract agreement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Boeing, SpaceX will beat Russia on price for astronaut rides

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

CBO: Deficit to shrink to lowest level of Obama presidency

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Eurozone looks for dialogue after stunning Greece elections

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

S&P downgrades Russia credit rating to junk

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Obituaries

Donald Wesley Johnson

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Rose is Rose Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Bridge Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Garfield Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Crossword Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baby Blues Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Word Sleuth Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Frank and Ernest Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4