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Comments by YACCS
Saturday, April 08, 2006

If you think things couldn't get worse

This is legal

14 year-old protest organizer commits suicide after threats from school faculty
by Rico
Fri Apr 07, 2006 at 07:01:28 PM PDT

This press release was just sent to me a couple of hours ago, and I'm still crying:

Sunday, April 9, 2006
12:00 p.m.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church
710 S. Sultana Ave., Ontario, CA 91761

Louise Corales, whose 14 year-old son, Anthony Soltero, died on April 1 after committing suicide, will speak to the community and ask for a prayer for her son this Sunday, following the 11:00 a.m. mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Ontario, California.

Eighth grader Anthony Soltero shot himself on Thursday, March 30, after the assistant principal at De Anza Middle School told him that he was going to prison for three years because of his involvement as an organizer of the April 28 school walk-outs to protest the anti-immigrant legislation in Washington. The vice principal also forbade Anthony from attending graduation activities and threatened to fine his mother for Anthony's truancy and participation in the student protests."

Anthony was learning about the importance of civic duties and rights in his eighth grade class. Ironically, he died because the vice principal at his school threatened him for speaking out and exercising those rights," Ms. Corales said today. "I want to speak out to other parents, whose children are attending the continuing protests this week. We have to let the schools know that they can't punish our children for exercising their rights."

Anthony's death is likely the first fatality arising from the protests against the immigration legislation being considered in Washington, D.C. Anthony, who was a very good student at De Anza Middle School in the Ontario-Montclair School District, believed in justice and was passionate about the immigration issue. He is survived by his mother, Louise Corales, his father, a younger sister, and a baby brother.

Ms. Corales will speak to the community after mass on Sunday, April 9, 2006 at 12:00 p.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. She will ask for a prayer for Anthony, whose funeral and burial are scheduled for Monday, April 10 in Long Beach, where he was born..

I talked to the family representative, and he is fielding a lot of press calls right now - this looks like it will be a pretty big story by the beginning of the week.

Let's hope that no more of our children are threatened by school officials for exercising their first amendment rights.

The judgment against the school will be in the millions. But schools do this, they did this in 1968 and they do it today.

The larger groups involved need to discuss with the schools the students rights and make it clear threats to intimidate students for legal protests will land them in court.

School districts have a poor track record in respecting student first amendment rights.

Explain to your kids that they have a right to protest and no matter what the school says only the police and DA can enforce the law. And they have to prove whatever they claim before a judge.

My advice: if your kid is going to protest, and you agree, make sure that they call you if approached by school officials and to tell then that they have nothing to say until you arrive. Don't debate anything, don't answer any questions, just have them say "I really don't want to say anything until my mother arrives"

Because teachers and administrators expect kids to be compliant. They expect the parents to act as their enforcement agent. Parents cannot leave their kids to the mercy of the school. They have to intervene as soon as they can.

When you arrive, you have to make it clear that he is acting with your approval and you will consider legal action to protect your child's rights. Schools don't like lawyers. In fact, if you know a lawyer or have access to one, showing up with them will throw the administrators off balance. Aggression is the best way to protect your kids and their rights. Remember, the school expects you to take their word over your kids and their authority as final.

Having seen this over and over in press cases, parents have to be extremely aggresive in dealing with the school.

I hope the district is driven into bankruptcy paying this family and I hope to God the vice principal is driven from teaching. Telling a child he could go to jail for a protest.

Of course, I'd be surprised if there wasn't a total walkout Monday in the Oxnard schools.

This is the minefield they GOP has walked into. Now, there's a dead kid because of this. Tom Tancredo thought he was going to hit a home run, not be denounced as a racist who's actions led to the death of a kid.

I never thought I'd see an issue worse handled than Terri Schiavo.

I was wrong.

Update: this was sent to me by a lawyer from MALDEF (the Mexican American Legal defense and education fund)


The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) urges
both students and school administrators to make informed decisions regarding their
participation in the marches and other events scheduled for April 10, 2006.
MALDEF is aware that students plan to participate in peaceful marches on April
10 throughout the United States to support fair and just immigration reform. MALDEFbelieves it is vital that all parties understand their respective rights and responsibilities.


o You have a constitutional right to free speech but remember that you are still subject to school rules.

o You must remember to avoid disrupting class. Check your student handbook (most
are available online) to get a better idea of your school’s standards and expectations.

o Cool and calm behavior that does not disrupt the education of those choosing to
remain in their classrooms is the best way to make your point and avoid punishment
based on disruptive behavior.

o If you are faced with any kind of suspension, expulsion, or referral to an alternative
center, you have the right to a hearing. In that hearing, administrators must tell you
what you are charged with, and give you the opportunity to tell your side of the story. Your parents/guardians and lawyer can attend this meeting.

o Tell your parents/guardians about your plans. Talk to them about how they can
participate on April 10, including taking you out of class to participate in the day’s

o If you are punished more than students who may have broken the same rules, but
under different circumstances (e.g., “Senior Skip Day”), this may be a violation of
your right to free speech.

o Be aware of the risks involved. Sometimes events can take unexpected turns, and you may be stopped and questioned by law enforcement even if you join a peaceful

Founded in 1968, MALDEF, the nation’s premier Latino civil rights organization, promotes and protects the rights of Latinos through advocacy, community education and outreach, leadership development, higher education scholarships and when necessary, through the
legal system.

Disclaimer: This document does not contain legal advice. Those seeking legal advice should contact an attorney to discuss their individual issues.

posted by Steve @ 12:02:00 AM

12:02:00 AM

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