A Day Without Students

255 students did not come to school today. There are 600 students at our school. This was born out of the Immigrant Strike, an event I think began in D.C. with restaurant workers planning to stay home from work today. Thew news spread on social media — no one officially organized the strike here and yet students and families got the message and stayed home.

According to this article from the Boston Globe, small businesses and larger companies, mostly food-related, closed today. But what the article misses are the number of kids who stayed home too.

According to the New York Times:

“At KIPP Austin Comunidad, a majority-Hispanic charter school in Austin, Tex., one teacher posted on Twitter that only seven of her 26 students came to school on Thursday. “Some of our school buses were coming to school with two and four children on them,” said Sarah Gonzales, a second-grade bilingual teacher at the school. “Nothing like this has ever happened before.”

By the end of the day, the KIPP Austin Public Schools network executive director, Steven Epstein, said only 60 percent of students attended its 10 schools with 5,000 students. Usually the attendance rate is 98 percent or above.

At Siler City Elementary School in rural North Carolina, where 65 percent of the school population is Hispanic, 263 of the 662 students were absent on Thursday. Just 18 were absent on Wednesday, said John McCann a spokesman for the county school district.”

Do the powers at be realize kids stayed home from school? Do the understand the fear? How do we let them know? And if we do, will they care?

I’m proud of the students who decided not to come to school to stand with their families but I’m worried. We cannot let current immigration policy steal learning time from these young minds. Furthermore, I’m hoping kids stayed home in protest and not out of fear. Rumors abound around when and where ICE might show up. A student asked a colleague if Donald Trump was going to come to school to check their papers. This student is 11 years old and supposed to be learning math, not worrying about their physical safety while at school.

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