Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Protecting Students' Rights to Protest in Support of Immigrant Communities

In the wake of the crackdowns on the massive immigrant rights demonstrations of the past week, the immigrant solidarity network and other immigrant agencies are working to support the students from California schools that walked out of classes in protest the racist anti-immigrant bills that passed in the House and are now being debated in the Senate.

The LA Times is reporting L.A.'s Top Officers Vow Crackdown on Students

Los Angeles' two top law enforcement officials Tuesday vowed a crackdown on students who walk out of class as authorities struggled to quell a third day of widespread demonstrations against immigration policy.

More than 12,000 students across Southern California defied Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and school officials by participating in a new round of marches Tuesday, including one that blocked traffic on the San Diego Freeway in Van Nuys and a second in which protesters tried to stymie the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro. Sheriff Lee Baca and Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton said at a
joint news conference that their agencies would begin aggressively enforcing truancy laws. Bratton said his officers will now cite any students found out of school, requiring them to appear in court. The citations could result in fines of up to $200 and 20 days of community service.

Despite school district officials efforts to prevent the walkouts with 'lockdowns' and other tactics, the students continued their 'blowouts' in the tradition of the 1968 demonstrations against racism and inequality in East LA schools which was recently dramatized by Edward James Olmos' HBO film Walkout. LA Officials reported more than 11,600 students from throughout the county were involved in the Tuesday protests — compared with more than 30,000 on Monday.

Meanwhile thousands of Long Beach and Santa Ana students continued their walkouts on Tuesday. The Times also reported continuing student walkouts in San Diego, Riverside and Fresno counties, as well as in Texas and Nevada. Full Article
Rough n' Tumble listed a number of links to press coverage of other walkouts up and down California -
Orange County schools curb walkouts -- Students protested immigration proposals in Orange County on Tuesday but in much smaller numbers. The item is in the Orange County Register
Students continue walkouts -- Despite educators' efforts to discourage them, hundreds of students across San Diego County once again left their schools yesterday to protest proposed revisions to federal immigration laws. Elizabeth Fitzsimons in the San Diego Union-Trib
BEN GOAD in the Riverside Press
Andrew Edwards in the San Bernardino Sun
Jason Newell in the Inland Daily Bulletin
Cyndee Fontana, Christina Vance and Louis Galvan in the Fresno Bee
Support for Students
The LA-based Immigrant Solidarity Network is giving useful information for student protesters and their supporters.

Also the ACLU of Northern California has produced a useful document for students, teachers and community members regarding the rights of protesters. -
ACLU of NOR Cal doc

The Midnight Special Law Collective also has produced excellent materials to help young people and community groups understand their rights, including a really useful comic book on the rights of students in school.

LA's chapter of the National Lawyers Guild also has a great pdf file outlining our general rights to protest.

Students’ Rights to Participate in Political Protest

Q: Am I allowed to express my political views while I am at

Yes. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 2 of the California Constitution guarantee freedom of speech and freedom of the press to all people, including students. In addition, two special laws in California specifically protect students’ rights of freedom of speech and freedom of the press at school.
Section 48907 of the California Education Code gives a special guarantee that students have a right to express their political opinions. This includes, but is not limited to

*wearing buttons, badges and other insignia (including armbands or message T-shirts)
*notices on school bulletin boards
*distributing petitions
*handing out other printed materials, such as leaflets
*writing in public school newspapers and yearbooks
*writing in "underground" (or unofficial) newspapers

Go here for the full report.

No comments: