Students ignore warnings, take to the streets again

first_imgLOS ANGELES (AP) — Thousands of students ditched classes Tuesday for the second day in a row, ignoring rain and campus lockdowns to protest immigration legislation they see as an attack on Hispanic rights. During the morning, 5,395 students had left schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, even though middle and high schools had barred youngsters from leaving campus, district spokeswoman Monica Carazo said. Several hundred students, some carrying Mexican flags, marched down streets in Wilmington, a working-class area south of downtown Los Angeles, ignoring pleas a day earlier from police and the mayor to stay in school. Authorities who had taken a watch-and-wait attitude on Monday had a harsher stance Tuesday. The 728,000-student Los Angeles Unified School District saw about 26,000 students walk out of 56 schools on Monday, at a cost of more than $500,000 in lost state attendance funds. The district receives state money for every student in class and that money is withheld when a student is absent. Student walkouts continued in other states as well. In Texas, hundreds of students left classes. In Dallas, some gathered to shout and wave signs at City Hall. One student’s hand was severed when a sport utility vehicle she was riding in crashed on the way to a rally. Students at several Las Vegas high schools also walked out. The Senate was set to take up a bill on Tuesday that will determine the legal future of the estimated 11 million immigrants who are living in the United States illegally. On Monday, some 36,000 students from 25 Los Angeles County school districts walked out of class, officials said, with more than 1,000 protesting outside Los Angeles City Hall for much of the day. The youths tied up streets and 300 even made a dangerous foray onto a downtown freeway to loudly protest against legislation approved by the House that would make it a felony to be in the U.S. illegally, impose new penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants, and build fences along part of the U.S.-Mexican border. Most of the protests were peaceful, but rock- and bottle-throwing led to some arrests. The walkouts followed a weekend of enormous rallies, including one that drew as many as 500,000 demonstrators in Los Angeles. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa praised the students’ action but also urged them to return to school. Police Chief William Bratton said Los Angeles police made four arrests for assault and one for disorderly conduct. Other protests were reported across the state and in Washington, Phoenix, Detroit and Yakima, Wash. In some places, arrests and possible injuries were reported as a result of demonstrators throwing bottles and rocks. In Watsonville, some fights and disorderly conduct marred a protest that drew about 800 students. The march began peacefully, said police Capt. Eddie Rodriguez, but “at some point, it’s like the protesters lost focus of what they were doing, and that’s when we got reports of fights, assaults and bottles being thrown at vehicles.” Twenty-one minors and three adults were arrested in Escondido, a north San Diego suburb, for unlawful assembly, truancy and assaulting a police officer, said police Lt. Dave Mankin. Some of the 600 demonstrators threw objects at police but no injuries were reported, he said. As the protests raged, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation late Monday that clears the way for millions of undocumented workers to seek U.S. citizenship without having to first leave the country. The committee also voted down proposed criminal penalties on immigrants found to be in the country illegally. It approved a new temporary program allowing entry for 1.5 million workers seeking jobs in the agriculture industry.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! In the city of Carson, authorities with batons and helmets temporarily ringed dozens of youngsters in front of a high school before allowing them to march. In the San Pedro area of Los Angeles, at least 50 students were cited for truancy and taken back to schools. A 14-year-old boy was arrested for investigation of disturbing the peace and taken to the police station before being released to his parents, Sgt. Mark Jauregui said. Some students were halted as they walked onto a freeway, forcing police to briefly close all lanes and divert them before they reached the soaring Vincent Thomas Bridge over Los Angeles harbor, the sergeant said. Most of the 500 students in San Pedro appeared to have come straight to the march rather than leaving the closed campuses, Jauregui said. Students also reportedly walked off in suburban Bellflower.last_img read more