View Full Version : Students Walk Out To Protest War, Recruiting

11-02-2005, 08:04 PM
Students walk out to protest war, recruiting


James Walsh, Star Tribune
November 3, 2005

More than 1,000 students, many of them from 40 Twin Cities area high schools, protested today against the war in Iraq and military recruiters on campus.

The crowd rallied at Coffman Memorial Union on the University of Minnesota campus before marching through campus, stopping traffic along Washington Avenue and ending up in front of the Army and Navy recruiting offices on Washington Avenue and Oak Street.

University Police Greg Hestness estimated the crowd at about 1,000 people. Protest organizer Ty Moore put the crowd closer to 1,500. Hundreds of people stood to the side as the students marched past, taking photographs or making cell phone calls to friends. Some applauded. A group of 25 to 30 counter-protesters across the street blared "Stars and Stripes Forever" from a pickup truck.

After winding through campus, marchers strode down the center of Washington Avenue. While the group didn't have permission to block off streets, Hestness said, university police went ahead of the marchers to divert traffic for several blocks. Hestness said the event was peaceful.

The walkout is part of a nationwide protest organized by Youth Against War and Racism. The Minnesota event includes the rally and march, followed by a teach-in.

At Bloomington Kennedy, about 20 students walked out to join the protest. Most said they had excused absences; a couple said they didn't have excuses but were going anyway. Minneapolis South reported about 100 students participated.

Kennedy Principal Ron Simmons said that today was the second day of end-of-quarter tests at Kennedy. Any student who walked out without permission would not be able to make up work they miss today and their grades would be affected, he said.

Andrew O'Brien, 17, a Kennedy senior and one of the organizers of the school's walkout, was disappointed that more students weren't participating. He said the timing of the protest during the testing period was a problem. In addition, he said it's been difficult to get Kennedy students interested in the issue. Students are apathetic about politics in general and about the war specifically, he said.

Last week, Moore and other supporters of the protest accused some schools of threatening students who walked out with failing grades. Most schools responded that they would follow their normal policies for absences: If students are excused by a parent, they will be allowed to make up work they miss.

Moore said his group would mount a "pressure campaign" against schools if students are disciplined or are not allowed to make up work as a result of the walkout.

11-02-2005, 08:06 PM
City High School Students Stage Walk-Out To Protest Bush Policies


November 02, 2005

Hundreds of city high school students staged a walkout Wednesday, gathering in Union Square as part of a national day of resistance against the Bush administration.

Some students, most of whom are not even old enough to vote, started walking out of class this morning to show support for the group World Can't Wait. Students from all five boroughs took part in Wednesday’s rally.

The group urged people across the country to stand up against George W. Bush. Many students say the war in Iraq is their main cause for concern.

The Department of Education had no comment about the event.

NY1’s Jennifer Rainville filed this report.

“I'm here because my country is more important than my report card. I don’t live in my report card,” said student Chloe Ditz. “I don't believe that Bush is doing a good job at all. It doesn't matter that he can't be re-elected, we have to do something now.”

For hundreds of city high school students, that something was walking out of their classrooms Wednesday. Students gathered in Union Square in a show of support for a group called World Can't Wait.org, which organized an anti-Bush administration protest.

“What I want to happen today is a huge leap in the level of people's organization and the level of people’s consciousness,” said a student organizer who only gave the name “Lu.”’

“I'd like Bush out and someone who knows what they are doing in,” said student Patrik Wagner.

Students say there isn't much about the Bush administration that they approve of. Most upsetting, they say, is the war in Iraq.

“I came out here because I think there are much more important issues going on than passing science,” said student Iliana Correa. “I think that what Bush is doing is completely wrong. I think that the situation in Iraq is just totally messed up.”

Given their age, many students say since they can't exercise their vote, their exercising their voices.

“I'm underage so I can't vote, and this is how I see fit to get my voice out there my opinion out there,” said student Talia Bosko.

“I think it is really important that young people find out that voting isn't the only way that politicians will hear you,” added student Zoe Chavez. “What Bush is doing is wrong, and because I can't put a little tick on a ballot doesn't mean that he is not going to hear what I am going to say.”

It’s a message they hope is heard loud and clear.

- Jennifer Rainville

11-02-2005, 10:16 PM
Good for them. They're gonna be drafted, so they better do something about it while they can.

11-02-2005, 11:42 PM
I'm 99.9% sure there won't be a draft, even with the next war(s).

11-03-2005, 10:19 AM
Ty! I got this email from Ty's group yesterday.

Defend free speech in Boston high schools
November 2, 2005
--- please distribute this appeal widely ---

By Jennifer Hoerres, sophomore at Academy of the
Pacific Rim (Boston, MA) and activist with Youth
Against War and Racism

Today, Nov 2, we organized a walkout and
protest against Bush's war in Iraq and military
recruiters. However, my principal, Mr. Anselme, and my
dean of students, Jonathan Diamond, informed us at
lunch that if we participated in this protest we would
be suspended for 3 days (much longer than if we simply
skipped out of school for no good reason on another
day). This is a violation of our free speech rights
and is effectively denying dozens of students
interested in
participating in the democratic issues the right to

Well a lot of us decided to walk out
anyway. 3/4s of our high-school walked out. I can
say I walked out with my head held high knowing I was
doing this for a good cause. I primarily walked out
to learn more about history and the facts but not what
is taught in history books. I can say I learned about
something my school doesn't offer and it was a
learning experience of a lifetime.

I am asking you to call and/or e-mail my
principal and dean of students, and urge them to
respect our free speech rights and take back all their
threats of suspensions. Their contact information
is listed below.

Also students from other high-schools in
Boston have gotten even worse threats from their
principals. Both Cambridge Rindge and Latin and
Boston Latin Academy threatened suspensions. They are
really trying to intimidate the students at Boston
Latin Academy. We got an e-mail from a student there
saying, "I go to Boston Latin Academy, I'm in the 8th
grade and i walked out of school today... I went to
the commons with 3 friends and my girlfriend. All of
which have been threatened with up to THREE WEEKS OF
all do."

Please help us make these threats only threats by
calling and/or e-mailing the principals of those
schools too.


Academy of the Pacific Rim:
Principal Anselme -- 617-361-0050 x157
Dean Diamond -- 617-361-0050 x142

Boston Latin Academy:
Headmaster Garcia-Aaronson -- 617-635-9957

Cambridge Rindge and Latin:
Principal Knight -- 617-349-6630

Thank you so much for your support.

Jennifer Hoerres, sophomore at Academy of the Pacific
Rim, Boston MA
Youth Against War and Racism
jennyftb24 [at] aim [dot] com (http://uk.f259.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=jennyftb24@aim.com&YY=83508&order=up&sort=date&pos=0&view=a&head=b)

11-03-2005, 12:59 PM
An updated version of the original report with more info, and which actually mentions Ty's group (Socialist Alternative (http://socialistalternative.org/)):

Student protesters attack Iraq war
James Walsh, Star Tribune
November 3, 2005

Like many area high school students Wednesday, Andrew Worrall, 17, asked his parents if he could attend an anti-war rally and march at the University of Minnesota. His parents said, "No."

Worrall, a Roseville Area High School student who was snapping digital pictures for the school newspaper, decided to go anyway and risk a grounding.

"It's important to be part of something that will make a difference," he said from the plaza at Coffman Memorial Union. "Even if people don't think it's going to make a difference."

More than 1,000 students, many of them from 40 Twin Cities-area high schools, joined Worrall -- some risking parental punishment or school discipline -- to protest the war in Iraq and the presence of military recruiters on campus. Organized by Youth Against War and Racism and the larger Socialist Alternative, the rally began at Coffman before weaving through campus and stopping traffic along several blocks of Washington Avenue before ending up in front of the Army and Navy recruiting offices on Washington at Oak Street.

University Police Chief Greg Hestness estimated the crowd at a little more than 1,000 people. Protest organizer Ty Moore of Socialist Alternative put the number closer to 1,500.

Hundreds of people stood to the side and gawked as sign-bearing, slogan-chanting students marched past. Onlookers took photographs or made cell phone calls to friends. Some applauded.

About 25 counter-demonstrators followed along, before parking across from the recruiting station and blaring "Stars and Stripes Forever" from a pickup truck.

Will Marean, a University of Minnesota student, carried a sign that read: "Get your Back to Class!" He said he suspects that much of the group's youthful zeal had to do with taking a day off from school rather than concern about the war.

"We're here today to offer a diversity of opinion on campus," Marean said of his group, which stated its support for U.S. troops in Iraq and for the mission there.

But Megan Martinson, a 10th-grader at Roseville, said she has been active politically for years. She attended her first rally in seventh grade, she said. And she, too, said protesting the war is important enough to risk discipline.

"I'm cutting class," she said, noting that her grades will probably be reduced from A's to A-minuses as a result.

As the crowd cheered, chanted and listened to speakers at Coffman, University of Minnesota student Jeff Bjorlin walked past. A freshman and member of the Army ROTC, Bjorlin said he doesn't mind the protests. "It's what I've signed up to defend," he said. But he added that he believes the students' opposition to recruiters' activities at high schools and colleges is misplaced.

"The recruiters are just doing their jobs," he said, pointing out that recruiting makes it possible to avoid a military draft. "They should be able to do their jobs."

Police mostly watched from the sidelines. While the group didn't have permission to block off streets, Hestness said, university police went ahead of the marchers to divert traffic for several blocks. Hestness said the event was peaceful.

The walkout is part of a nationwide protest, said Socialist Alternative's Moore.

[b]School turnout varied widely

In general, schools reported by organizers to be hotbeds of support for the walkout had only modest defections. Only about 20 students from Bloomington Kennedy and 10 from Bloomington Jefferson walked out. Each school has about 1,700 students.

Andrew O'Brien, 17, a Kennedy senior and one of the walkout organizers, was disappointed that more students weren't participating. He said the timing of the protest, during end-of-quarter tests, was a problem. And, he said, "A lot of kids are pretty apathetic about the war, and about politics in general."

One exception was South High School in Minneapolis, where Principal Linda Nelson guessed 200 to 300 students left. She said she won't know until students bring in notes from parents how many of those absences were excused. Those students can make up any work missed, including quarter-ending finals that fell this week.

South students Emily Kastrul, 16, and Esther Kearney, 17, joined their friend Becca Miner, 17, of St. Louis Park High School at the rally.

"I'm missing two classes," Kastrul said, adding that her parents called the school ahead of time. "It's just one day out of the school year," she said.

Added Miner: "I feel like having opinions is useless unless you're willing to act on them."

Staff writer Steve Brandt contributed to this report.

11-03-2005, 10:06 PM
Students roar against war: Hundreds skip school to protest U.S. role in Iraq
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/246915_walkout03.html)

For Sergio Chacon, the decision to skip afternoon classes at Ingraham High School to attend a downtown anti-war rally Wednesday was a no-brainer.

The 16-year-old junior believes passionately that the Iraq war -- or any war, for that matter -- is "pointless." And he reasons that being out there, hearing what people have to say, is more relevant than anything he could have learned in class.

So at midmorning, he and about 150 fellow students eagerly spilled out of Ingraham's front doors as part of a Seattle-area "walkout" -- a teen protest duplicated in cities around the country.

"We can't do much," Chacon said, noting that most high school students aren't old enough to vote. "But I think in a massive group, we will be able to get our point across."

Waving flags and signs proclaiming "Prune Bush" and "Dollars for Students, not Soldiers," the young protesters gathered in front of the North Seattle school before marching en masse to catch Metro buses bound for Westlake Plaza.

College students and other adult protesters joined the high schoolers, forming a raucous crowd, bristling with banners, drums and guitars.

The organizers, members of a group called Youth Against War and Racism, estimated the turnout at 1,000, but that appeared to be a generous assessment. Police did not provide a crowd estimate.

Ingraham junior Mike Lang, 16, who passed out fliers earlier this week publicizing the walkout, was pleasantly surprised by how many of his classmates joined in.

"We don't believe a small number like this can stop the war," he said, gesturing at the Ingraham marchers as they made their way to a bus stop on Aurora Avenue. "But it's a start. And it has to start somewhere."

The rally was one of several planned in Seattle for Wednesday, the one-year anniversary of President Bush's re-election. Only a few minor arrests were reported.

By noon, walkout organizers had lost a sizable chunk of their early-arriving teenage protesters to an anti-Bush march that was already under way downtown. But by the time the youth rally started at 1 p.m., the marchers had swung back around, shedding the students.

Speakers called out the names of local schools represented at the rally, including Denny and Whitman middle schools, and Cleveland, Nova, Nathan Hale, Garfield, Franklin, John Marshall and Ingraham high schools.

"I'm just tired of what Bush is doing to this country," said Ryan Wisniewski, 15, from Ballard High School. "Tired of fighting a war we don't need to be fighting and spending money we don't need to be spending, killing troops we don't need to be killing."

Many students said they were not only against the war, but wanted society to see that the young people would speak up against it.

"I'm doing this because I care about what's happening to this country. I care about the future," said 14-year-old Emma Staake, from Roosevelt High School. "People are dying every day. The war is stupid. It's just for money and power, and we've been lied to."

Many students said their parents knew they'd skipped school -- and wouldn't disapprove when they found out.

But some students weren't so sure. "I'll be grounded for the rest of my life," said one of the youngest protesters, 13-year-old Jeri Riley, from Hamilton Middle School.

Attending the protest, she figured, was a risk worth taking. "Bush needs to be impeached 'cause he sent us to war for no reason," she said.

Roughly 50 students from Seattle's Alternative School No. 1, ranging from kindergarten to the eighth grade, were taken to the protest by a group of parents.

One of them, Kris Sigloh, attended with her children -- Carter, 12, and Cassidy, 8.

"If my oldest son ... is being recruited or drafted in years to come, I wanted to be able to say we've been fighting that for a long time," Sigloh said.

Seattle Public Schools officials said they weren't sure how many students participated in the walkout and likely wouldn't know until today.At Ballard High School, Principal Phil Brockman said a handful of students had left school grounds at lunchtime to attend the rally. They all seemed as though they truly believed in the anti-war cause, he said. "They're not just looking for an excuse to skip school."

Most had permission from their parents to be absent, he added.

Ingraham junior Ailene Richard conceded some students probably took advantage of the protest as an excuse to ditch classes. But she said many feel strongly about the anti-war movement.

"Kids are not babies. Their ideas are just as important, just as significant as anybody else's," she said.

Several students said the rally gave them an outlet to express their frustration with the country's current direction and their feelings of powerlessness.

"We're not happy with the decisions that the generation in power is making and the way the system is working," said Jeff Stein, 16, who helped organize the Ingraham walkout.

But meeting up with so many like-minded students, some from as far away as Ellensburg and Olympia, gave him hope that they were edging closer to gaining the attention of those in power.

Said Stein: "We're on the road to where we want to be."


What students attending Wednesday's anti-war "walkout" had to say:

"I wanted to see if it was the real thing -- that we were going to go somewhere and do something."

-- Augustine Wittkower, 16, The Center School

"I'm just tired of what Bush is doing to this country. Tired of fighting a war we don't need to be fighting and spending money we don't need to be spending, killing troops we don't need to be killing."

-- Ryan Wisniewski, 15, Ballard High School

"I'm against the war. There was no point in doing it. Bush did it for oil and blinded us with weapons

of mass destruction."

-- Montana Posse, 15,

Ballard High School

"I'm doing this because I care about what's happening to this country. I care about the future. People are dying every day. The war is stupid. It's just for money and power, and we've

been lied to."

-- Emma Staake, 14, Roosevelt High School

"It's cool to just feel the solidarity and know there's a community of people who support each other."

-- Jeff Stein, 16,

Ingraham High School

"If we're portrayed as a bunch of rowdy kids ... it's completely detrimental to the whole anti-war movement."

-- Mike Lang, 16,

Ingraham High School

P-I reporter Jessica Blanchard can be reached at 206-448-8322 or jessicablanchard@seattlepi.com.