Activists are calling on high school students in Irving to boycott classes Thursday and Friday after district leaders refused to pass a symbolic measure making the district a safe and welcoming space for undocumented students and their parents.
Similar measures have been adopted recently by the Dallas Independent School District board and other districts in Texas.
However, it is a call that directly goes against what organizers of the Dallas Mega March on Sunday are pleading for.
Organizers of the march for immigration reform have repeatedly told students not to walk out of class and to instead march peacefully on Sunday.
But activists in Irving said this latest decision by the school board has backed them into a corner.
Gustavo Cruz is an AP junior at Irving High School and is considering skipping school on Friday.
“This is really to send a message out that this was a final straw,” he said.
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Cruz wants to stand in solidarity with undocumented students, many he calls friends, at Irving High.
“They’re scared that they don’t feel protected, that they’re going to get picked up,” said Cruz.
The 16-year-old said many undocumented students were devastated after the Irving ISD board of trustees voted down a symbolic measure ensuring these students and their parents know Irving is a safe and welcoming school district.
“It sends a message that I care. I mean it’s just as simple as that,” said community activist Anthony Bond, about the measure’s goal.
Bond is now behind the call for high school students at all four schools in Irving to boycott school on Thursday and Friday.
“This is a drastic step. I will agree with that,” said Bond. “But it’s necessary.”
Asked how he can justify asking students to miss out on their education, Bond responded: “A couple days does not make an education. Nor will it destroy one.”
Board trustee Nell Anne Hunt brought the initial symbolic measure forward after ensuring its legality.
She had not heard of the planned boycott.
“It’s totally opposed to what I had in mind,” she said. “A protest like this has no place in taking children out of school… [Students] needs to be in school every single second and that was the whole point of my resolution. They need to be in school and they should take advantage of that opportunity.”
However, Dawn Cano said she supports the boycott even if it means her gifted son ditches classes.
“If my son is on board with it and he wants to miss those two days, I would allow it,” said Cano. “We have to at some point decide that we’re going to take a stand against this anti-immigrant sentiment.”
Cano and Bond said Irving should do as Dallas, El Paso and other multicultural school districts have done and pass this measure in good faith.
“We love our students and we’re going to make sure you feel safe at school and if a boycott is what it is, then so be it,” said Cano.
Cruz says he understands the importance of being in class.
“It’s important to go to school but at the same time you also want to show support,” he said.
Activists want the school board to take up the measure again.
However, Hunt said she has no plans on bringing it forward again because they simply don’t have the votes.
Irving ISD released a statement saying: In Irving ISD, we value each of our 34,860 students and their families. We continue our commitment to maintain a safe and nurturing learning environment, which is clearly outlined in our board policies and administrative procedures. We have seen social media postings and flyers that call for boycotts on April 6 and 7 at Irving ISD schools. It is our hope that students will attend school on those days and allow us to do what we love to do: educate the young people in our community.