Monday, May 01, 2006

Today's School Boycott: By The Numbers

CNN just reported that an estimated 72,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District either did not come to school or walked out of class. Meanwhile, ABC's Nightline gave a gushing ("An example of the American tradition of non-violent protest at its best.") overview of protest activity in Los Angeles while stating that 27% of L.A.'s students had not reported to class.

On their evening news broadcast, NBC indicated that in some Denver area schools, up to 70% of the student body may have stayed home.

The New York Times reports on the school boycott in Chicago. (Sorry, there's no permalink yet, it's from their dispatch page.)

In Chicago, where more than 300,000 people showed up, according to police estimates, the demonstrations took a toll on attendance at the city's predominantly Latino schools. At Benito Juarez High School in Pilsen 17 percent of the students attended school today, said Ana Vargas, a spokeswoman for Chicago Public Schools. The school is 95 percent Latino and predominantly Mexican, she said.

At Foreman High School, which is 70 percent Latino, there was a 50 percent attendance rate today, compared to the usual rate of 88 percent.

And at Roberto Clemente High School, which is 75 percent Latino but mainly Puerto Rican, there was a 69 percent attendance rate. Zapata Elementary Academy in Chicago allowed their students to make posters and have their own march around the school this morning.

"We did everything we could to encourage our students to attend school today, but obviously this is a very important issue," Ms. Vargas said. "So we understand that they want their voices heard."

Simon Vega, 15, a high school freshman from Lake Station, Ind., attended the Chicago rally with his mother and his brother. "I came here for solidarity, and everybody's an immigrant," he said. "It started at Ellis Island in New York. We want our opinions to be out there as well. Even though I'm not an immigrant, I want to help out the people." His grandfather was from Mexico.

He said it was difficult for him to decide to skip school today. He ultimately decided last night, with the support of his mother, to come. "I think this is something I need to be a part of," he said. "I hope that this gets our point across." -- GRETCHEN RUETHLING
NPR reported that approximately 20% of San Diego's students would face "detention" for skipping school.

More as details become known.

Our editorial comment on the boycott here.
Get news sources about today's "Great American Boycott," right here.