US: Defend free speech in Boston high schools

Lift the suspension threats – Urgent solidarity needed!

On 2 November, we organised a walkout and protest against President Bush’s war in Iraq and military recruiters. However, my principal, Mr.Anselme, and my dean of students, Jonathan Diamond, informed us at lunch that if we participated in this protest we would be suspended for 3 days (much longer than if we simply skipped out of school for no good reason on another day).

This is a violation of our free speech rights and is effectively denying dozens of students interested in participating in the democratic issues the right to organise.

Well, a lot of us decided to walk out anyway.  Three quarters of our high-school walked out.  I can say I walked out with my head held high knowing I was doing this for a good cause.

I primarily walked out to learn more about history and find the facts.  I can say I learned about something my school does not offer and it was a learning experience of a lifetime.

I am asking you to call and/or e-mail my school principal and the dean of students, and urge them to respect our free speech rights and take back all their threats of suspensions (Their contact information is listed below).

Students from other high-schools in Boston have received even worse threats from their principals.  Both Cambridge Rindge and Latin and Boston Latin Academy threatened suspensions.

They are really trying to intimidate the students at Boston Latin Academy.  We got an e-mail from a student there saying, "I go to Boston Latin Academy, I’m in the 8th grade and I walked out of school today…I went to the commons with 3 friends and my girlfriend. All of which have been threatened with up to three weeks suspension and no credit for the term. I need help, we all do."

Please help us by calling and/or emailing the principals of those schools too.

Please protest today to:

Academy of the Pacific Rim:

  • Principal Anselme — 617-361-0050 x157
  • Dean Diamond — 617-361-0050 x142

Boston Latin Academy:

  • Headmaster Garcia-Aaronson — 617-635-9957

Cambridge Rindge and Latin:

  • Principal Knight — 617-349-6630

Thank you so much for your support.

Jennifer Hoerres, sophomore at Academy of the Pacific Rim, Boston MA

Youth Against War and Racism

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November 2005