NORTH TEXAS (CBS11) – As the angst and anger of present day national politics spills over into the schools, local leaders have had enough.
Both Dallas and Irving school superintendents Monday reached out to parents to encourage them to make sure their students remain in class.
Social media posts have already been circulating, encouraging students to walk out of class again this week to protest the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
“Regardless of your personal views on current events, I think we can all agree that education must be a priority,” stated the letter from Jose L. Parra, Ed.D., Irving’s Superintendent of Schools.
The letter went on to acknowledge the disruptions that followed protests last week. “On Friday, February 17, a few high school students intentionally activated fire alarms at Irving High, MacArthur High, Nimitz High and Singley Academy which resulted in several evacuations. The students involved in activating the fire alarms are now facing discipline in school as well as legal consequences for a felony level offense.”
Kevin Dalto, a student at Singley, said he was disappointed to see the fighting that erupted under the guise of protests but, said that students with pro-Trump views were not targeted in the fights, suggesting that the altercations were fueled by opportunity. Irving school leaders confirmed two fights on campus. They also stressed that the altercations did not appear to have been politically motivated.
Manuel Aguirre, a sophomore at MacArthur, described the student led protest as “chaos, just chaos.” He also suspected that the motivation behind the walkouts had more to do with disruption than a desire to have any real impact on national policies. “If you’re doing it for the right reason, go ahead do it: if not, sit down, because you’re just doing it for fun.”
Aguirre said he does not intend to join any walkouts planned for this week. “They said you will get fined. You will get suspended… you will go to alternative school,” said Aguirre. “I don’t think it’s worth it.”
Dallas school leaders are hoping their students will come to a similar conclusion after hundreds participated in a series of walkouts during the school day last week.
In a letter being distributed to DISD parents Monday, school leaders informed them that the district was taking steps to make sure the student’s voices were heard.
“To help further the discussion and allow students to share their concerns, teachers have received instructional materials that will help guide productive conversations in class,” said the letter signed by DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa. “We believe everyone’s opinions can be heard during classroom discussions, while students are in a safe environment and can still freely express their thoughts and feelings.”
The DISD letter went on to solicit parents’ cooperation in making sure students remained on campus for the entire school day and warned that violations of the Student Code of Conduct would lead to unexcused absences.
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