Parents, teachers and community members recently held a meeting in El Monte, a small city just outside Los Angeles, to talk about the recent removal of Mr. Orozco from a middle school and the repression their students faced on May 1st 2007, a day of massive boycotts for migrant and workers rights throughout the nation.
According to one of the parents that was present, on May 1st their children were locked down in their classrooms and when their parents came to pick them up, they were not allowed in. Students who were seen out of class were sentenced to janitorial duties after school and any flyers or talk about May 1st was strictly prohibited.
"Instead of using May 1st as an educational opportunity and to give students an outlet for political expression, the district decided to lockdown the students like prisoners. This is an injustice," said Daniel Montes, community member present at the meeting.
Mr. Orozco, who has taught at the middle school for over seven years and one of the few Latino teachers on campus, spoke out against this repression and came to the aid of frustrated parents and students. For that action, he became a target of the administration. He received numerous, unjustified and disruptive visits to his classroom.
At the end of the school year Mr. Orozco, a teacher whom the students love and parents respect, was suspiciously transferred to another school.
Angry parents spoke with frustration about their pervious dealings with Mountain View School District, a small district that includes 11 elementary schools and 2 Middle schools. Students gazed with awe at the passion and activism their parents displayed. Unknowingly, students were getting a lesson in social justice. Parents, not having found any support from district officials turned to themselves. "Nosotros tenemos que luchar por los derechos de nuestros hijos (We must struggle for the rights of our children)," One parent exclaimed.
By the end of the meeting, there was over 25 parents, students and community members present. Also present at the meeting were teachers from the Association of Raza Educators, who stated they would lend their support and resources to this cause.
As the meeting drew to a close, parents and students decided on two important actions. The first is to form their own organization named Padres y Estudiantes del Monte. The second is to hold a rally and speak out at the next Mountain View School District Board Meeting on Thursday, Aug 2nd 2007, at 6:00pm. Los Padres y Estudiantes del Monte and the Association of Raza Educators hopes others will come out and support this very important action.
Jose X is a Social Justice Activist in Los Angeles. For more information about Los Pardes del Monte or for questions and comments on this article contact: firstname.lastname@example.org