East LA students march in protest as LAUSD calls for calm
Sarah Favot | November 14, 2016
Students in East Los Angeles on Monday morning walked out of classes from at least five high schools to protest in the wake of Donald Trump‘s election as president.
Walkouts at school campuses began last week following Trump’s victory on Tuesday.
Students at Garfield, Mendez, Roosevelt, Wilson and Lincoln high school walked out of class Monday. Hundreds converged in East LA’s Mariachi Plaza and then marched over the First Street bridge to the steps of City Hall, about a mile and a half away.
Photos were posted to social media accounts using the hashtag #eastsiderising. A poster that appeared to organize the walkouts posted on Twitter by a Latino/Chicano student organization at Roosevelt High School called the protest a “Unitywalk” and stated, “This is not a protest against Trump!” However, students participating in the protest were Tweeting using the hashtag #notmypresident.
In a televised statement, LA Unified officials encouraged students to stay in class and cooperate with school officials to plan protests on campus. At a news conference last Thursday officials warned that students would face discipline if they left school during classes.
Los Angeles police estimated that the crowd was “a few hundred” total, although organizers estimated as many as 3,000 students and parents participated.
An LA Unified district spokeswoman said there was no indication of a significant drop in attendance Monday throughout the district. A robocall recorded by Superintendent Michelle King called for calm and promised “safety for all children.”
“This election is providing a lesson in democracy,” said King at the news conference. “These and other lessons take place every day in our classrooms, which is why it is essential for our students to return to school.”
Los Angeles school Police Chief Steve Zipperman said, “We are working hand in hand with our law enforcement partners with these post-election activities. We want students to remain within the law and stay on campus with the resources and supports.”
Two board members joined King and Zipperman at the news conference. LA Police Chief Charlie Beck also attended.
“We have a commitment with all our students to achieve their dreams through their education,” said LA Unified school board President Steve Zimmer.
“Our students are our leaders and they deserve their voices to be heard,” said board member Mónica García in Spanish. “They need to be listened to.”
United Teachers Los Angeles issued a statement that included, “In this uncertain time, in which youth and communities across Los Angeles and the country are fighting back against the politics of fear, racism and misogyny, UTLA re-affirms its commitment to building the movement for educational and racial justice both in our classrooms and in our communities.”
The students that made the march were bused back to their respective schools after the rally.
Students have walked out of classes nationwide in the wake of the election.
Trump’s victory has hit Los Angeles students particularly hard because of the president-elect’s statements on illegal immigration. During an interview on 60 Minutes that aired Sunday night, Trump said the deportation of 2 million to 3 million people who are in the country illegally is a top priority of his administration.
He reiterated his campaign pledge to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
About 74 percent of LAUSD students are Latino, and an estimated 10 percent of LA’s population is undocumented.
— Sol Márquez (@elmaryelsol) November 14, 2016
— MEChA de Roosevelt (@MEChARHS) November 14, 2016
— Mando V. (@AVJ16) November 14, 2016
— Centro CSO (@CentroCSO) November 14, 2016
L.A. Unified is taking all steps to ensure student & staff safety during post-election activities. Visit https://t.co/AZDfmuaMmu for info.
— LAUSD (@LASchools) November 14, 2016
— Catherine Clark (@catmclark) November 14, 2016
LA School Report reporters Mike Szymanski and Esmeralda Fabián Romero contributed to this report.
* Updated police estimates on the crowd and other email Tweets.