Boycotting Latino Parents Gather Letters Urging All-English Teaching

Latino parents boycotting a downtown Los Angeles school had gathered more than 90 letters demanding all-English-language instruction by Friday afternoon, and plan to deliver them to Ninth Street School next week.

The parents, organized by skid row community center director Alice Callaghan, have held about 80 children out of school since Tuesday morning as a protest against the school’s bilingual program.

Principal Eleanor Vargas Page has promised to meet individually with any parent who wants an all-English program, which she had hoped would persuade the parents to end the boycott.

“I’ve asked them to bring their children back and I know some of my parents are caught in the middle and want to bring their children back but are hesitant to do that,” she said.

Callaghan, who runs an after-school program where many of the students are now spending their days, said the parents want to return their children to school, but not until they receive a firm promise that they will be moved to an English program by the fall.

The boycott got a boost at midweek when Mayor Richard Riordan announced that he would support the protesters because he believes the Los Angeles Unified School District does not adequately inform Latino parents of their options.

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