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3/30 El Paso, TX: 4 Articles about El Paso Students walk Out
Released 31 March 2006  By El Paso Times

4 Articles about El Paso Students walk Out
March 30, 2006

Two groups walk from Burges to join protest
Adriana M. Ch vez
Zahira Torres
Thursday, March 30, 2006

A Mexican flag draped around his body, Burges High
School student Rolando Bernal walked several miles
Wednesday afternoon to meet up with peers from
Jefferson High School participating in a call for
immigrant rights.

Bernal was one of more than 100 Burges students who
walked off the East Side campus around 12:30 p.m. and
traveled about five miles to join other high-school
students in protesting H.R. 4437, an immigration bill
that would make living in the United States illegally
a felony.

"My family already has our papers but I am here
because, as raza, we have to support each other," the
15-year-old said. "We are all connected by blood. If
we do not stand up against this injustice, we will
lose a lot of families."

Several Burges students who remained at the school
said some teachers called the students' decision to
leave during lunchtime "dumb" and said they "would not

accomplish anything."

But a second wave of students, who at first were
unaware of the earlier walkouts, left around 2 p.m.
after hearing about the first group.

Burges has 1,418 students, of which 1,215, or 86
percent, are Hispanic.

"I went to school, and they just started telling us"
about the protest, said Tania Salinas, a Burges
sophomore. Salinas said she was eager to join the

Once together, students walked to Bowie High School to
gather more support, but they were met by school
administrators and police from the city and the El
Paso Independent School District, who locked the gates
leading into the Bowie campus.

Though the students planned to walk to the Paso del
Norte Bridge, by the time they arrived at the Chamizal
National Memorial Park, they were greeted by Jefferson
High School students who had just returned from the
trek Downtown.

After marching along the Chamizal National Memorial,
more than 300 students gathered at the Bridge of the
Americas, where they climbed an overhead roadway sign,
waved Mexican flags and made impromptu speeches about
the Mexican people's right to seek better lives in a
country founded by immigrants.

"What the government is doing to Mexicans is an
injustice," Salinas said in Spanish. "They're doing
the work a lot of Americans don't want to do. That's
why they're here."

Adriana M. Ch vez may be reached at; 546-6117.

Zahira Torres may be reached at; 546-6156.


Students stage more walkouts
Times staff
Thursday, March 30, 2006

Students at several more El Paso area high schools
reportedly walked out of classes early today, a day
after students at several other schools staged
protests against a House immigration bill.

Police and sheriff's disatchers reported as many as
250 students at Irvin High School in Northeast El Paso
and Canutillo High School in the Upper Valley were
staging protests.

Canutillo students who marched from the school to
Franklin and Coronado high schools started making
their way back to Canutillo around 11:30 a.m.

Canutillo's principal, who walked the entire way with
students, continuously urged students to return to
class and promised that if they did they would not be
marked truant for missed classes.

Students at El Dorado, Del Valle and Ysleta High
Schools also reportedly walked out of classes.

The students who walked out from Irvin High School
first marched to Chapin High School and then to Austin
High School, picking up more marchers at each stop.
More than 200 students were participating as of this

The students said they planned to march all the way to
the Zaragosa bridge. They were being escorted by El
Paso Police and El Paso Independent School District

At Del Valle High School, a fire alarm was pulled
about 8:40 a.m. and students walked out. They marched
to Ysleta High School and picked up more students,
then marched, about 300 students strong, to the
Zaragosa bridge, arriving about 11 a.m. The students
then began marching on toward Socorro High School.

High school students who walked out of class this
morning were less than peaceful, the manager of an
East Side convenience store said.

About 11:20 a.m., more than 50 high school students
entered the Diamond Shamrock at the corner of Saul
Kleinfeld Drive and Montwood, store manager Yolie
Nakashima said.

"The kids came into my store, vandalized and they
stole," she said.
Nakashima said her store was left in disarray, with
sodas spilled and crushed potato chips.

"It was supposed to be a walkout. They are not
supposed to be going into the stores," she said.
"These kids should stick to the streets instead of
coming inside the stores and stealing stuff."

She said she called the police and was left cleaning
up this afternoon, figuring out the actual losses from
the incident.

No violence has been reported at either protest.

Police remain near the campuses in case they are

Proposed changes in the country's immigration policy
sparked marches and protests in Los Angeles, Denver
and other U.S. cities earlier this week.

Developing story.

Reporter Erica Molina Johnson contributed to this

Ysleta students march to Zaragoza Bridge
Darren Meritz
El Paso Times
Thursday, March 30, 2006

At exactly 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Ysleta High School
senior Oscar Gutierrez stood up in Mrs. Martin's
economics class, pumped his fist in the air and
shouted "Huelga!" to rally a student protest against
proposed immigration policies.

"I'm doing this for my grandma, really, because she's
the one who slept in ditches so she could be here,"
Gutierrez, a senior who plans to study film, said as a
group of students congregated near the Zaragoza
Bridge. "She was trying to get a better life like
every other immigrant in America."

Gutierrez was one -- a leader, according to him -- of
about 50 students at Ysleta High School who walked out
of class Wednesday afternoon in protest.

"Everybody was going around, whispers were going
around that this was going to happen," he said. "When
the time came, nobody stood up, so I had to take a
stand. So I stood up with my fist in the air."

Gutierrez said that moments after he walked out of
class, students pulled the fire alarm, everyone on
campus began congregating outside and the contingent
of protesters began making their way to the bridge.

He said proposed legislation that would criminalize
immigration was an attack on Lower Valley families.

Also among the marchers was Brenda Reyes, a freshman
who said she walked out of geography class to protest.

"I was born here in El Paso, but I have lots of family
members who have struggled to come through," she said.
"My grandparents are the ones who struggled to put the
family together."

Reyes said her grandfather, an auto mechanic
originally from Chihuahua, recently returned to Ju rez
for work because he couldn't find any here.

"We want to make sure that they come back and have a
good life," she said. "We don't know if it's going to
make much of a difference, because who's going to
listen to a bunch of high-schoolers? But at least
we're trying to be heard."

Darren Meritz may be reached at; 546-6127.


About 125 stage walkout at Riverside
Ramon Bracamontes
El Paso Times
Thursday, March 30, 2006

About 125 Riverside High School students walked out of
class Wednesday afternoon, symbolically joining the
hundreds of others in El Paso and thousands nationwide
who are opposed to an immigration bill now before

The peaceful protest at Riverside, which is 97 percent
Hispanic, began at 1 p.m.

"Most of us are Mexican- Americans; our parents, our
families are former immigrants. They should not change
the rules," said Riverside student Eva Flores, 16.
"Everyone who wants to come into the country should be
allowed in."

The walkout at Riverside, which coincided with
walkouts at Jefferson, Bowie, Burges and Ysleta high
schools, was organized by students in protest of H.R.
4437. That is the immigration bill that passed the
U.S. House in December and includes provisions for
constructing a 700-mile border wall. It also makes
being in the United States without documents a felony.

Among those watching the Riverside protest was area
resident Barbara Guerra. While she doesn't have a
child at Riverside, she has children at Marion Manor
School, which is two blocks away.

"I'm glad the students are doing this," Guerra said.
"I am glad they are making their opinion known. Who
better than the students to speak for us?"

Riverside Principal Ismael Villafo¤e, accompanied by
other school administrators, El Paso police officers
and Ysleta Independent School District security
officers, walked parallel to the students throughout
the march.

As students crossed intersections, police officers
stopped traffic, and when students walked onto the
Border Highway, motorcycle officers quickly asked them
to get down.

No one was arrested, and no incidents were reported.

Villafo¤e said that while the students had a right to
express their opinion, they would be counted truant
for the day. If it is their first offense, there
probably won't be repercussions for the students who
walked out.

"Someone pulled the fire alarm, so we had to get
everyone out of class," he said. "Other than that,
everything was normal inside the classrooms."

Riverside sophomore Taylor Fellows was among the
students who didn't walk out.

"I support what they are doing, and I know why they
are doing it," she said. "But I didn't want to do it.
If they believe that law is wrong, then they have a
right to protest."

However, student Omar Ogaz did not join the walkout
because he didn't think the majority of students knew
what the protest was about.

"I think it is kind of childish," he said. "They
should at least know the details of the bill."

Flores, one of the organizers at Riverside, said the
students do know what is at stake and that's why
organizers were able to get people to participate.

"Our nation was built by immigrants," she said. "We
can't start throwing them out now."

Ramon Bracamontes may be reached at; 546-6142.

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