Middle school students take up immigration march
Associated Press
Mar. 31, 2006
About 900 to 1,000 Tucson middle school students and another 300 high school students walked out of classes Friday as demonstrations opposing tougher legislation against illegal immigrants continued here for a third straight day.
But Tucson Unified School District officials also instituted a so-called "hard lockdown" at several of the schools where students had walked out _ meaning that remaining students will stay in their classrooms, with campus perimeters also secured.
Officials held open the possibility of placing more schools under lockdown, depending on reports of student activity.
They also said that there would be disciplinary consequences for students now leaving classrooms without permission.
The lockdown was imposed because of continuing concern over student safety and neighborhood reaction to students roaming the streets during school hours, spokeswoman Karen Gallagher said.
Tucson Police spokesman Sgt. Decio Hopffer said there had been no incidents or arrests, though some exuberant middle school students were walking in the streets and being less disciplined than high school students have been the previous two days.
"We're seeing more middle school kids out here today," Hopffer said.
Police escorted student groups to Rodeo Park on the city's southwest side and to City Hall, "to make sure that the kids cross the streets in a safe manner, and that they are able to exercise their First Amendment rights," Hopffer said.
Students obstructing traffic or failing to heed police warnings could be cited for traffic violations or disturbance, with their parents subject to fines of up to $250, Gallagher said.
Students across Arizona have staged walkouts all week to protest against proposed laws and to show their support of immigrants.