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Another student walkout to protest the end of ethnic studies

Students from 3 TUSD schools join Cholla HS students to protest the end of the Mexican American studies program.

Another student walkout to protest the end of ethnic studies

CREATED Jan 23, 2012

Reporter: Valerie Cavazos

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- The protest against TUSD's decision to end Mexican American studies program is growing. Once again, hundreds of Cholla High School students marched down 22nd street in protest -- chanting "When education is under attack, what do you do? Fight back."

It was a similar scene played out just about two weeks ago. Then, the students were eager to talk to the media. One of the protesters had said that she thought the students would continue to protest. KGUN9's Valerie Cavazos had asked if she would walk out of school again and the student replied, "No."

This time --  the group was larger, the chants were louder, and they were told to turn away from our cameras. While walking alongside the students, Cavazos asked several protesters, "Who's organizing this?"
No reply.
"You're not going to talk to us?"
No reply.

Cavazos asked another protester why they were protesting and when the student began to answer, another protester pulled the student away.

The students reactions to the media differed this time, but the overall mission was the same -- make their voices heard at TUSD  headquarters. The march continued until they reached Santa Rita Park, where they were greeted by other students from Tucson and Pueblo High Schools and Wakefield Middle School -- as well as members of the Brown Berets, who said they were there for the students' safety.

Cavazos asked, "Do the schools know about this?" One of the Brown Berets said, "No, we kept them in the dark. We let some know, but a lot of students, it was their choice to walk out."

Juliana Leon did and her mother, Tanya Alvarez, was there to offer support. 'They're putting their foot down and saying - we want to be taught our culture. Every other culture is being taught here," said Juliana's mother.

Juliana says there is no trace of Mexican American culture or history being taught in her classroom -- as mandated by the state. But she feels the students and teachers are being censored. "In class, if we talk about it in class at all and there's people listening that don't like it, they could tell administrators and teachers could get in trouble for what the students say," said Julianna.

As to why the media was shut out today during the march, Tanya Alvarez said the students were concerned about how they were being portrayed. "They're being portrayed as little criminal running around and just not going to school." Cavazos asked, "Does that upset you as a parent?" Tanya said, "Yes, it does because the kids that I know follow the law, they love everybody of all cultures."

 Also: What are the consequences for skipping school?

Hundreds walk out Monday to protest ethnic studies shutdown.