March 29, 2006

Immigration Protests By High School Students

A post in three parts relating to the high school immigration walkouts -- including a glimpse into my own classroom.

* * *

Michelle Malkin has photos from one of the many high school demonstrations regarding the immigration bill.

Be prepared to be outraged. The kids purposely insulted the American flag and flew it subordinate to the flag of Mexico.


My students and i had a bit of a discussion on these demonstrations during last period yesterday. Rumor is that they are going to do a walkout sometime today, and 2since I overheard discussion, I thought I should address it.

I may be accused of going a little bit Jay Bennish, but I think you will see where what I did differed.

My comments went something like this -- though I am condensing a bit.

"All right, guys, I'm not going to pretend that I haven't heard some of the chatter about the plans some of you have for tomorrow.

{confused comments from some students, and disingenuous denials from the ring leaders}

You know, I'm the last guy in the world to tell someone not to express their oipinion, but I think this whole walkout thing we've been seeing on Channel One and I've heard you kids talking about here is a bad idea. If you kids walk out, you can expect ISS, Suspensions, or even tickets -- and since I keep the gradebook, I know that some of you really don't need to be out of class any more this grading period.

Besides, do you know how these walkouts are being received by your average middle aged, middle class Anglo like me? Do you? You know, the folks who represent a majority of Americans nationwide? I'll be glad to tell you.

{the ringleaders are enthusiastic, and the rest of the class would like a chance to stop working}

I was listening to one of the talk radio stations over the last couple of days -- I don't remember which one, with all that's been going on in my life -- and you had a guy saying "I see all these folks waving Mexican flags and chanting "Mexico! Mexico! Mexico!' I want to go down there and start shouting 'Go back to! Go back to!'

{one of the ring leaders responds "Mister, I think somebody wants to get his ass jumped doing that."}

Jose, you're missing my point. My point is this -- has waving a Mexican flag and chanting "Mexico!" done anything to get this guy on your side? Do you think it is doing anything to get your average middle aged, middle class Anglo on your side?

{"uhhh... No"}

Why not?

{"Cuz this isn't Mexico."}

Yeah -- and what are you supposedly protesting for.

{"To let Mexicans who are here stay here and become citizens."}

And if you wave Mexican flags and chant "Mexico!", what does it sound like you are more interested in being?

{"Mexican. What's wrong with being proud of being Mexican?"}

Nothing -- but I think you are missing the point. If you want to be proud Mexicans and wave the Mexican flag, that's great. But a lot of Americans are going to look at that and think there is a great place for you if you want to do that -- Mexico. If you want to show us that you want to be American citizens and work and live here and follow our laws, what might be a better thing for you to do?

{various kids respond -- "Carry American flags." "Shout 'USA'." "Don't disrupt school."}

Yeah, those are all good. Besides, who are the folks you most need to influence?

{Again, various kids -- "The president" "Congress" "The governor" "Mayor Bill White"}

Well, maybe not the governor or the mayor, but the first two are exactly right. What can you do to influence them? And I'm not just talking about on this issue, but I mean on anything.

{one jaded kid -- "What? You want us to write them letters? Ain't no on e gonna read letters from us."}

Yeah, they will. Maybe not the President, and maybe not Congressman Gene Green or either Senator from Texas, but someone who works for them will. They record what folks are wrting about, and pass the information on to their bosses.

{time for the challenge -- "Yeah, right. They don't care. They won't even write back."

You would be surprised. Whenever I write, I get a letter back. It may be a few weeks, but they at least acknowledge the letter. And it can change people's minds. Heck, you can even call their offices and talk to a real live person.

{"I don't know who or where to call or write."}

Do you really want the addresses and phone numbers? I'll get them for you before you leave this room -- they aren't hard to find. You can call or write them instead, and make a responsible protest -- show that you know how to be a good American, whether you are here legally, illegally, or are an American citizen. Show that you know how to work within the system.. I'll even make you a deal -- if you feel like writing a letter to the President or the Senators, or the Congressman, I'll even proofread and edit it for you before it goes in the mail. I don't care if I agree with you or not -- I'll be proud of you doing things the right way. I'll even mail it if you bring it in an addressed envelope with a stamp on it."

We talked about the immigration issue for a while -- I used examples of line-jumping in the cafeteria, and whether they would rather have someone who followed the rules or who "backstroked across the river" as a neighbor. the funny thing is, even the kids who I believe to be here illegally (or the children of illegals) said they would prefer those who follow the law.

Where it got down to a real awkward discussion was when someone asked about dealing with the illegals who are already here.

"I guess the problem is this -- we've got maybe 15-20 million illegal aliens in this country. That is somewhere between 5 and 8 perscent of the American population. What are we going to do with them? A lot of folks, myself included, can't see reqarding them by waving a magic wand and giveng them citizenship -- how is that fair to the folks who have waited for years to get their green card legally? On the other hand, rounding them all up and sending everybody back would be pretty near impossible -- and would be a real hardship when you have families where some are American citizens and some are not. So it sounds good, until you think it through. So there has to be some middle ground -- and that is what the bill the Senate is dealing with is trying to do. Read the paper, go ont he internet, do something to find out what exactly the bill does. Do it for yourself -- and then write or call if you feel like it. Do the thing that a responsible citizen does when he or she feels strongly about something.

I eventually got the addresses and phone numbers and put them on the board while they did their assigned work.

And a few were quickly jotting them down, like maybe they were thinking about writing or calling.

Maybe they learned something a damn sight more important to them than the politics and economics of Europe between the two World Wars. And maybe I found a way to teach on some of those "politics and government" standards that are easy to overlook as we spring towards the TAKS test next month.

* * *

As I was leaving school to go to the hospital to sit with my wife, I saw a group of kids (around 200 -- about 8-10 % of our students) leaving campus shortly before the bell for first period rang. They were headed towards the Senior High School (Grades 11 & 12) campus. I wondered what would happen next, and prayed it would not involve school bus transportation.

Later in the day, I got filled in by one of our French teachers when she came to visit at the hospital.

By the time the kids reached the other campus, there were about 20-30 police cars there to meet them. They were parked so that the kids could not go anyplace except into the district football stadium. A couple of them circled behind to make sure the kids didn't go back.

Herded into the stands, their parents were called to pick them up. Those whose parents couldn't come had to stay in the stadium until the end of the day -- though they could take shelter on th interior of the stadium once the wind and the rain started. All got unexcused absences, and will not be permitted to make up work. I suspect that additional sanctions will be forthcoming.

My district doesn't play -- and I am proud of that fact.

MORE AT: Red State Rant, Say Anything, Bill Frist, Captain's Quarters, A Certain Slant of Light, Babalu, Euphoric Reality, California Conservative, Badger Blogger, Leaning Straight Up, James Mabry, Unpartisan, Right Wing News, Smithism, Unalienable Right, Tech In Black, LaShawn Barber, Left Wing = Hate, Those Bastards!, Portia Rediscovered, Hyscience, Education Wonks, Blogs for Bush, GOPBloggers

TRACKBACKED AT: Blue Star Chronicles, Stuck on Stupid, Liberal Wrong Wing, Outside The Beltway, Conservative Cat, Third World Country, Bacon Bits, Real Ugly American, Adam's Blog, Is It Just Me?, Voteswagon, Uncooperative Blogger

» Portia Rediscovered links with: There is Hope
» The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY links with: Is it spring break yet?

|| Greg, 10:11 PM || Permalink || Comments (8) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

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» Portia Rediscovered links with: There is Hope, on March 30, 2006, 01:24 AM
Excerpt: MuNu blogger Greg, at Rhymes With Right, (who trackbacked to this post) is a Texan teacher who's on a mission to set straight the thinking of Mexican teens who protest on behalf of...well, they're not sure what they're protesting. (I actually cheered w...

» The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY links with: Is it spring break yet?, on April 01, 2006, 06:33 AM
Excerpt: Geez, not for another two weeks! The good news is, once the break is over, summer vacation is right around the corner. One of the benefits of being a teacher is that one never loses that kid-like anticipation of summer...

Comments on Immigration Protests By High School Students

Appreciate the crosslink. you have been added to my blogroll.


|| Posted by karl, March 29, 2006 11:17 PM ||

We don't need to deport everyone, we need to tax and regulate. These are some of government's core competencies. You'll have less of whatever is taxed and regulated, but we must have a guest worker program to make this effective, as I discussed in my blog RealCurrents.

|| Posted by Gordon, March 29, 2006 11:43 PM ||

The beginnings of the counter-protest movement?

|| Posted by ubu roi, March 30, 2006 01:44 PM ||

Sadly, too many high school students don’t know the difference between legal and illegal immigration. But it’s not surprising, because their teachers and the news media call illegal aliens ‘immigrants’ and ‘undocumented workers’. Legal immigration means Americans are making conscious choices about who they admit for citizenship, illegal immigration is simply an invasion.

The students who are walking out of school and protesting today should really be asking themselves why their cities and states encourage illegal immigration by offering benefits to illegal aliens. That’s a slap in the face to every legal immigrant who waited in line for their chance to come to America.

My name is Michael Class. I live in the Seattle area with my wife and two children. I am a retired "dot-com" executive who just couldn't sit by and let the mis-education of our youth go unchallenged anymore.

I wrote, photographed, and published a book designed to set the record straight, to properly prepare our children for the future. My book is called Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame.

In the book, my real-life son, twelve-year-old Anthony, time-travels to 1907 and meets his immigrant great-grandfather at Ellis Island. Anthony listens as officials question the new arrivals and document their intentions in the United States. Anthony witnesses the personal impact of immigration policy: He sees some people turned away at America’s door, causing families to split up.

It's a harsh lesson: The purpose of immigration policy is to discriminate, to make choices about the people we want to admit to the United States.

Even when admitted to the United States, Anthony learns that life in the new land is anything but certain. Anthony’s great-grandfather masters the language of America - English - and works his way through school, only to end up in the trenches of World War I, and then back in America during the Great Depression. Eventually, he starts a business, rises from poverty, and raises a family.

To tell the story of America's earlier immigration experience, I used advanced digital photography to insert Anthony into historical photographs. And I didn’t stop with family history: Anthony meets famous American heroes and witnesses pivotal events of the 20th century. Anthony is pictured in the cockpit of the Spirit of St. Louis with Charles Lindbergh, on the moon with Neil Armstrong, in the laboratories of Thomas Edison and Jonas Salk, and on Normandy beach on D-Day (see photos at: Throughout the book, historical accuracy rules: Even Anthony’s conversations with America’s heroes are based on things they really said.

While writing and photographing the book, I spoke with relatives of famous scientists and inventors, Holocaust survivors, award-winning biographers, and others who could help me ensure that the facts of the book were both accurate and vivid. The book includes more than 500 footnotes.

But the book goes beyond a simple recitation of historical facts: the book presents the moral lessons of American history. The chapter about Lindbergh’s flight is really about choosing one’s destiny. The story of Lou Gehrig is one of a virtuous life. The chapter about Thomas Edison is really about business. The story of Apollo 11 is about wonder, taking risks, and courage. The story of Dr. Jonas Salk and the cure for polio is really about dedicating one’s life to a higher purpose. Anthony’s observation of D-Day and the liberation of the death camps during the Holocaust is a testament to the reality of evil and the need to fight it.

Back to the immigration issue:

When Anthony meets his immigrant great-grandfather at Ellis Island, it’s really a story about what it means to be an American. Anthony’s great-grandfather says: “I became an American because I believe in America, and it’s my belief in America that makes me an American.” Anthony comes to realize the simple truth of the statement, and remarks: “America is an idea as much as it is a place. I am no different than my great-grandfather and all the immigrants who came to this land: I can only be an American by choice.”

It's not an easy book. The book challenges the reader to see the modern world in the light of the lessons of the past.

We can't afford to raise a generation of Americans who do not value their country, their heritage, and their place in the world. As Abraham Lincoln said: America is the "last best hope of earth."

Thank you.

Michael S. Class
Father / Author / Photographer / Publisher

Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame: An American History Book for Right-Thinking Americans and Their Children


Web site:

|| Posted by michael class, March 31, 2006 09:18 AM ||

Isn't Reconquista the same as Zionism?

|| Posted by Isrealcool, April 1, 2006 11:09 PM ||


|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, April 2, 2006 07:41 AM ||

Awesome article. I really enjoyed reading about students doing it the right way, and maybe even learning something about how to make some sort of difference in our republic.

|| Posted by Adam, April 14, 2006 04:16 PM ||

You can't be 70815 serious?!?

|| Posted by Mary Box, June 17, 2006 01:43 AM ||
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