Protests Cost Dallas ISD $500,000 to $750,000 After Thousands Stay Home From School

Dallas ISD wants its kids back in class, and it told parents and guardians as much on Monday.While students had the day off for President's Day, the district sent out letters and made robo-calls, encouraging families to get their children in school when it resumed on Tuesday.DISD's attendance dipped last Thursday by 10 percentage points, with approximately 15,500 students staying home as part of the national "Un Dia Sin Immigrantes" or "A Day Without Immigrants" demonstrations. An additional 1,500 middle school and high school students staged walkouts Thursday and Friday as part of the protests against President Donald Trump's tough stance on immigration.DISD is not required keep track of the percentage of its students who are living in the district without legal permission, but a change in the country's immigration policy would likely affect the tens of thousands of students and their families. The district is 70 percent Hispanic, with 44 percent of its 157,000 students identified as having limited English proficiency.The absences hit DISD in the pocketbook, costing the district from $500,000 to $750,000 in state funding tied to attendance."While we respect everyone's right to voice their opinion, we encourage all students to remain in school," the robocall said. "When students leave campus without permission, they are in violation of district policy - which can create additional risks to their well-being."District leaders admitted that they are trying to walk a delicate line, attempting to be apolitical while respecting student dissent."As a district, we are trying to balance our student's rights to civilly protest without getting into the area of dictating to them what they can and can't do," DISD chief of school leadership Stephanie Elizalde said. "We don't want to add fuel to their existing fire. We want to be sensitive to their concerns. But our mission is educating them; we can't just turn a blind eye to the fact that they are absent and missing instructional time."  Continue reading...

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