Parents, students participate in protest - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Parents, students participate in protest

(SOURCE: KXXV) (SOURCE: KXXV)
WACO, TX (KXXV) -

People all over the United States participated in "A Day Without Immigrants" protest, including parents and their children.

The protest is designed to show people what it would be like if immigrants were not in the country. Many businesses closed their doors to stand in solidarity with those protesting. 

But the protest showed up in a place some may not have expected -- and that's the Waco Independent School District. 

Bruce Gietzen, with the district, said 1,735 students missed school today, versus the 656 students who missed yesterday. He said that's a little more than 12% of the district's student population.

"We saw some affect of the protest but it was nominal on most campuses," Gietzen said. "We respect families' rights to do that but we hope they recognize that each day out of the classroom can affect their child in a negative way."

Kelli Barron is a teacher at Cesar Chavez and she said although she supports her students and their families, now is not the best time to miss school because students are preparing for the STARR tests.

"Missing even one day significantly affects their ability to keep up for that week," Barron said. "Even one day absent does affect them, but if they're out today, we'll work even harder this week with them and catch them up if we need to."

Mary and her daughter Aly decided to participate in the protest, after Aly had already been dropped off at school. 

"I woke up and sent her to school thinking it not going to be a very big deal," Mary said. "And then she's like mom, my friend's not here, nobody's here it's empty."

"It was kind of a shock to me when I got to school, knowing that half of my friends weren't there," Aly said. "I didn't expect it to happen in Waco, because Waco's such a small town." 

She said seeing her classrooms empty was an eye-opening experience, and that she felt she needed to take a stand with the protest too. 

"It made me think that half of my friends weren't actually immigrants -- their parents were -- so if their parents were to get deported, that means I'd be losing my friends," the student said. 

Bells Hills Elementary, Cesar Chavez Middle School, and University High School are some of the Waco ISD schools that had the highest number of absences today.
 

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