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Crete Without Immigrants

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“Immigrants make America great” “They are the future,” these are just a few of the slogans found on signs people help up on Thursday, February 16. Across the U.S., immigrants came together to show to the world what a day would be like without them. Whether legal or illegal, a large majority of the country protested including many workers who did not go to work, students who did not go to school, and businesses that closed for the whole day. Here in Crete, 123 students were marked absent. Of those, 37 were excused for “personal reasons” while the rest either did not call in at all or called in stating they were “sick”. Students that were gone say that the reason behind the protest, was to show people who want them out of the country that they have a large impact on society in many areas.

With a large portion of the school missing, many took notice of what was occurring. Teachers noticed the large number of absent students in their classes, especially many of the ELL classes. “Many of my classes were empty, since no one showed up that day,” junior Jacqueline Juan Mateo said. Whether people agreed or did not agree with the protest, it was quite evident that the school was missing students. To put this in perspective, the junior class has 120 students, so with 123 gone, that means 25% of the school was absent.

While many said that they were fighting for equal rights and for the nation to see how much of an asset they are, some just decided to use it as an excuse to skip. A handful of teachers were giving quizzes and tests on the day of the protest, so many used it as a way out. A large majority of students did not have anyone call in and say where they were, so it became the job of the office secretaries to figure out why people were gone. After calling many people, the secretary’s noted that over half would not state why they were gone.

Some students who are immigrants did not protest and believe that what students did was ineffective. “I think that it was not a smart decision. There was really no change, so in the end they only lost a day of school,” junior Betsy Rosales said.

The school, which contains a lot of diversity, is spilt on student’s opinions on the topic of immigration. So after taking into consideration the amount of students that were gone, the bigger question is, did it work? The answer is debatable, but after having a day without immigrants in Crete High School, the opinions of 123 students are clear and many hope that they will receive support from their fellow classmates and community.

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