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Students stay in on Mayday

Newport-Mesa reports no ditching on a day when many were expected to skip class to rally for immigration reform.

May 02, 2007|By Michael Miller

Students in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District had a choice to make on Tuesday: protest on the streets or prosper in class. In the end, education won out.

On a day when thousands of people were expected to skip school or work to rally for immigration reform, Newport-Mesa schools reported no students ditching class — and that may have been for a purely nonpolitical reason. The district began giving its annual standardized tests this week, and Tuesday morning found students in their desks as usual.

"I would love to think — and I'm going to hold the hopeful thought — that our students do take their testing seriously," said Estancia High School Principal Phil D'Agostino. "Our teachers made it a really big point that they come to testing. I also put out the little incentive that any classes that have 100% attendance for testing over the next three days, I'd deliver doughnuts and juice to them personally wearing some kind of funny hat."

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Last year on May 1, Newport-Mesa reported a small number of students missing class to participate in rallies, but even then, most opted to get in another day of testing. The last major student walkout in Newport-Mesa took place on March 27 last year, when around 100 students rallied outside Costa Mesa City Hall against a federal bill that would tighten illegal immigration laws.

Laura Boss, the district's administrative services coordinator, said she had called every school Tuesday morning to ask if students had walked out but had gotten no reports of trouble.

"I'm hoping that because of the testing, the students are in class and that's a priority for them, but I wouldn't want to speculate on the other issues surrounding it," she said.

"We're proud of our students for being in class and that they're supportive of our educational programs."


  • MICHAEL MILLER may be reached at (714) 966-4617 or at michael.miller@latimes.com.

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