Youth Against War & Racism: Foster High Students Hold Press Conference to Protest Administration’s Constitutional Violations After Police Break Up Student Gathering
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DECEMBER 7, 2007
CONTACT: Youth Against War & Racism
Marianne Mork: 206.931.8537, email@example.com,
Foster Students Available for Interview:
Angie Jobe Cuba, 206.856.3026, firstname.lastname@example.org
Irene Muller, 206.388.6054, email@example.com
Foster High Students Hold Press Conference to Protest Administrationís Constitutional Violations After Police Break Up Student Gathering
TUKWILA, WA - December 7 - Students and teachers from Foster High School in Tukwila are holding a press conference tomorrow, Friday, December 7 to protest the school administrationís flagrant violations of studentsí constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of assembly. On November 28, school administrators brought in 8 policemen to break up and disperse a peaceful student gathering. Students were gathering after school to discuss efforts to pressure the administration to drop investigative hearings against six teachers after over 125 students participated in the November 16th antiwar national student walkout.
Larry Hildes, the attorney who is representing the teachers under investigation, will speak at the press conference, as well as students, parents, and a teacherís spouse who is a veteran of the Iraq war.
Students and parents are absolutely furious about the blatant violation of studentsí constitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. They have already gathered 200 signatures on a petition to demand that the investigative hearings against the teachers be dropped and that teachers under investigation get to keep their jobs -- not only next semester, but also next school year. Students and parents are organizing for another massive turnout at Tukwila School Board meeting to ask administrators to agree to their petitionís demands on Tuesday, December 11th at 6:30 PM at the Tukwila School District headquarters.
Student Angie Jobe Cuba said, "Our teachers should not be punished for supporting the students who walked out of classes as a statement against an unjust war."
And Student Irene Muller explained: "It's funny how they tell us we shouldn't have a say. Are we not the ones spending 6-10 hours a day at school? Aren't I the one here to get an education, to be prepared for the world we all must live in? Students have the right to an equal say in the things that affect us. The school should be about the students, not the administrators. Someone needs to remind the educational hierarchy of that, and that's why we are here."
The controversy began when over 125 students from Foster High joined over 1,000 students from Washington State in the November 16th national student walkout against the war and military recruitment in schools sponsored by Youth Against War and Racism. However, none of the teachers imposed their political views on the students or promoted the student walkout. Teachers simply organized lesson plans and homework assignments to let students educate themselves about the war and make up their own decisions about whether to participate in the walkout or not.
Students and teachers have received an incredible outpouring of community support and media coverage for their defense campaign. 100 students and parents packed the last Tukwila School Board meeting, which won the reinstatement of popular teacher Brett Rogers, and now the investigation of one teacher has already been dropped. The administration has also been flooded with over 1,000 protest emails and calls.
RECENT MAJOR NEWS REPORTS:
Seattle Times: "Protesting teacher back at Tukwila school" November 29th
http://www.kirotv.com/education/14714796/detail.html(Click where it says "video")
Northwest Cable News:
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Nov. 16th Walkout Article:
Student-made Walkout Film:
Youth Against War and Racism article about the walkout:
Free Speech Radio News: here.