Mar 30 2006

Students Speak Out

GUESTS: 17 year old Carlos Montero, and 16 year old Sergio Mendoza from Grover Cleveland High School, Piero Giunti, 20 year old “veteran” activist, graduated student at John Burrows High school, involved in walkouts, 16 year old, Jose Covarubias from Garden Grove High School, Jesus Cruz, 16 year old from Valley High School in Santa Ana.

This week tens of thousands of students all across the state, and even country, have been walking out of class rooms each day, to protest harsh immigration legislation. The protest even eclipsed the famous student walkout for Chicano rights in 1968. At one point, protesters marched onto the Hollywood Freeway in downtown Los Angeles and two sections of the Harbor Freeway, downtown and in San Pedro, briefly halting traffic. Students in Orange County briefly blocked the Riverside Freeway and Santa Ana Freeway in Fullerton, waving Mexican flags and tossing a rock that smashed the window of a CHP cruiser. Marchers backed up traffic on local streets, but many motorists honked and cheered on the students. More than 1,000 students rallied at Los Angeles City Hall and were addressed by Mayor Villaraigosa. In Santa Ana, officers used nightsticks and pepper spray to control students throwing bottles and rocks. They also set up barricades to prevent the protesters from disrupting traffic. One student was arrested and a few others suffered minor injuries, police said.

LA Police Chief William Bratton and Sheriff Lee Baca vowed to crack down on the students by aggressively enforcing truancy laws. Bratton remarked on the walkouts, “That’s not free speech, that’s insanity.” Los Angeles Unified School District officials said all middle and high schools were on lockdown the next day. Still, scattered walkouts continued. Hundreds of students from Coachella Valley, including Desert Hot Springs, Indio and Palm Desert walked out yesterday and marched down 111 highway, and to the Larson Justice Center, and the Civic Center.

In contrast to last Saturday’s highly organized march in downtown LA, the student walkouts appeared to be loosely organized, with students learning about them through mass e-mails, fliers, instant messages, cellphone calls and postings on Web pages.

A few schools used the situation to help students focus on immigration issues by organizing forums and teach-ins. Some teachers were encouraged and admired the students’ resolve. Others however, chastized them for missing class instead of discussing immigration issues in the classroom.

National Lawyers Guild has legal hotlines for students interested in their legal rights:

In Spanish: 310-712-7066
In English: 310-712-6373

One response so far

One Response to “Students Speak Out”

  1. xitlallion 30 Mar 2006 at 8:09 pm

    Thank you for giving the youth the right to defend themselves.