Students protest proposed immigration policies |

Students protest proposed immigration policies

Jeff Munson and Amanda Fehd

A group of as many as 40 Hispanic students from South Tahoe Middle School demonstrated this morning over immigration policies, with another demonstration being organized among high school students.

The students, many of them waving flags, are protesting proposed new immigration policies in Congress, an organizer said. A school district official said school officials are aware of the middle school demonstration and are “on alert.”

South Lake Tahoe police monitored the protest this morning, and returned some of the students to school.

“They were upset about the laws trying to be enacted,” said Lt. Martin Hale of the police department. “We got some calls from people saying the kids were out in the street.”

At least two parents appeared with the students. The other students were returned to school, Hale said.

The students are not in trouble. Officers were concerned about the children’s safety and the fact that they were protesting without their parents permission, Hale said.

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An organizer of the event said high school students plan a protest later today, marching from the high school to the district’s administrative office on Al Tahoe Boulevard.

District superintendent Jim Tarwater said students are considered truant if they leave campus. Most of the students returned to school, he said, but as of 10:30 a.m. about 15-20 were still out protesting.

The students told a Tribune reporter that proposed legislation that will be taken up in Congress this week is racist.

“Just listen to what we have to say and don’t judge us as criminals just because we’re Mexican,” said Monica Fausto, a South Tahoe High School student who was among the protesters.

Tarwater said the students have a right to protest, but should do it peacefully and within the boundaries of the law.

“To the parents: We want your child to always come to school. We will never close the door on any student because education is the road to success,” Tarwater said. “For the students, I can say that no one is going to be sent back to Mexico. They can show their pride by doing well in school.”

The district has about 1,500 Hispanic students, about 400 of which are at South Tahoe High School.