Students at Golden Valley High School who walked off campus last Monday in an immigration reform protest are accepting the consequences with equanimity, according to Principal Jacque Snyder. Saturday School session, the district’s standard consequence for truancy, is being turned into a learning experience for students to become more familiar with the immigration bills they were protesting. Students who were listed as truant were called into the school office, where they agreed to attend Saturday School on one of two dates in April. Questions directly related to the current immigration bills and to the reform process are being incorporated into the classroom assignment which is regular part of the Saturday School schedule. “We decided we needed to follow through with our initial directive that there would be consequences for truancy,” Snyder explained. Students were provided with an open forum on campus Monday and were warned that they would face discipline for truancy if they chose to leave the campus. Some 150 chose to leave school and march to City Hall. The school also is taking a proactive stance that will encourage students to address issues on campus by providing a forum for exchange of ideas to open lines of communication. Golden Valley is inviting students to meet during lunch on Thursdays in a student forum setting. Teachers from the history and English Language Development (ELL) programs will help facilitate the first such forum on March 30.
The initial forum will include a discussion of the alternative reform bills currently in the Senate and ways in which students can have a positive impact on the legislative process. The forums will allow students to discuss any issues that concern them in a positive setting. Students who left school on Monday were brought into the office on Tuesday and Wednesday to face disciplinary action for leaving campus. “The kids discussed and voiced concerns with the issues and were well informed, by their peers as well, about consequences of their actions,” Snyder commented. “When one student asked why he was getting Saturday School, the students themselves told him to ‘be serious.’ He agreed that he had earned the consequence.”