LA Unified Board Votes to Support Immigrant Students

By Sarah Le
Sarah Le
Sarah Le
November 16, 2016 Updated: May 4, 2018

LOS ANGELES—One day after several hundred students walked out of morning class in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) on Monday, LAUSD Board members unanimously passed a resolution to support immigrant students on Tuesday night, Nov. 15.

The resolution promises students they will have outlets of expression on campus, and information will be provided to students and their families about their rights.

The school board also restated that school sites can be used as community safe zones, and the district will protect the identities of students, family members, or employees who may be affected by immigration policies.

Thousands of Los Angeles residents took to the streets over the weekend in one of the largest anti-Trump rallies in the nation. On Monday, the high school students walked out of morning class to Mariachi Plaza, then gathered in Grand Park across from City Hall at around noon.

“We’re not 18, and we can’t vote. We just want to express our disappointment in the country,” said Madeline Keipp, a junior at Eagle Rock High School.

Students carried signs saying “Dump Trump” and “We Need a Uniter Not a Divider,” while chanting, “Immigrants are welcome here!” They waved both American and Mexican flags.

High school students from Los Angeles Unified School District rally against president-elect Donald Trump at Grand Park across from City Hall after walking out of class in Los Angeles, Calif. on Nov. 14. (Sarah Le/Epoch Times)
High school students from Los Angeles Unified School District rally against president-elect Donald Trump at Grand Park across from City Hall after walking out of class in Los Angeles, Calif. on Nov. 14. (Sarah Le/Epoch Times)

The second-largest school district in the nation, LAUSD’s students are nearly three quarters Latino, and about 30-40 percent of students are estimated to have a family member who is undocumented.

President-elect Donald Trump has said he will begin deporting two to three million illegal immigrants with criminal records immediately when he takes office, with more deportations planned for the future.

However, local officials have voiced support for Los Angeles’ immigrant community, saying they have no plans to change immigration enforcement activities.

LAPD police patrols monitored the high school student protest on Monday.

Keipp, who said she was on the volleyball team, said she was concerned she might not be able to play in the team’s first state game on Wednesday because of participating in the walkout.

“I heard that there could be suspensions,” she said. But she said it was worth it. “I’m not too worried, because I feel like we’re in the right.”

However, Christian Juarez, a senior at Esteban Torres High School, said his school allowed students to leave and even sent adult chaperones with them to keep them safe.

“I came out today because I really think that we really need to stand up for what we believe in,” he said.

Juarez said Trump’s policies would affect him personally.

“A lot of my family is from Mexico. I was born here, and my parents weren’t, so that really affects my family in a big way.”

Los Angeles County Supervisor Chair Hilda L. Solis issued a statement on Monday urging the high school students to be peaceful.

“This is a righteous exercise of this country’s protection of free speech and free assembly,” she said. “To all our diverse communities and groups, I will be working every day to ensure that the values that form the basis of our society continue to be honored. This may be a time of fear, but it is also a time of hope and a time of resilience.”

But LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King said in a statement that the students should not skip school.

“Students should limit their activities to non-instructional time and—for their own safety and to follow the law—they should remain on campus,” she said.

Sarah Le