LOS ANGELES—Parents of about 100 students decided to continue their boycott today of an elementary school after attempts to resolve a
fight over bilingual educational programs at the school failed.
The parents kept the 100 children, most of whom are Latino, out of the Ninth Street Elementary School for a second day yesterday in protest of the
programs, which they say do not adequately teach the children to read or
Alice Callaghan, a boycott organizer, said parents were not impressed” by a presentation made by school officials at a parents’
meeting this evening.
The boycott is going to continue,” Callaghan said. The parents are going to write letters to the school requesting that they (students)
receive English-only classes.”
Ninth Street Principal Eleanor Vargas Page, who attended the meeting, was not available for comment.
Under current school policy, parents can place their children in bilingual programs with instruction in the primary language or in an
English language development program with oral instruction in English.
According to Callaghan, who runs the Las Familias del Pueblo community center where many of the children go to after school, school officials
apologized for difficulties related with applying for the programs.
But the Las Familias director said the English language development classes offer English instruction to students only after they have
demonstrated English proficiency.
Callaghan said parents questioned whether school officials would help really help them get English-only programs because the officials kept on
talking about the problems it would create.
That did not encourage the parents,” she said.
Callaghan said she received a phone call this afternoon from Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, who had expressed support for the parents.
Jason Greenwald, a Riordan spokesman, said the mayor supports the rights of the parents to be involved in their children’s education.
If they need legal counsel, he would be happy to help them find legal counsel,” Greenwald said.
Riordan has a history of supporting educational efforts, including the Puente Learning Center, which teaches adults and children about computers,
Callaghan said the mayor’s support will help parents not feel as intimidated by school officials.
The Las Familias director said parents felt threatened when they received phone calls from school officials yesterday about their children’s
absences and were told they would have to speak with the principal before
returning to school.
We want to make sure no child is not allowed to return to school when the time comes,” Callaghan said. It would be unfortunate example of
democracy to the children.”