Students call for day of protest against Iraq war

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Students from metro-area high schools will rally against the Iraq war on Nov. 2, but there’s continuing controversy about whether those who participate will face academic sanctions.

The organizers are calling for a “National Day of Action” that will include protests in New York, Boston, Washington, Seattle, and Madison as well as in Minneapolis. The sponsoring organizations are Socialist Alternative, the Anti-War Organizing League, and Youth Against War and Racism. Nov. 2 is the anniversary of last year’s presidential election. The walkout also will include students from area colleges.

Students are being encouraged to walk out of their classes at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 2, with a noon rally scheduled at the University of Minnesota’s Coffman Memorial Union plaza followed by a march to a nearby military recruiting office and a teach-in.

Because in some school districts Nov. 2 is the date for end-of-quarter final exams, protest organizers charge that participants might not be allowed to make up their exams. This would mean failing grades in their courses and could, in the case of seniors, jeopardize their graduation.

Although policy varies from district to district, some districts have indicated that a note from parents would qualify students for an “excused” absence and enable them to make up missed exams. About a thousand local high school students have signed the “Nov. 2 Walkout Pledge,” asking that students not be failed for missing tests that day.

Two objectives of the nationwide demonstrations are to send the Bush administration a clear message opposing military recruiting in high schools and to protest cuts in education funding while the government spends billions of dollars on the war in Iraq, said Ty Moore, one of the Twin Cities organizers. Locally, one goal is to convince the Minneapolis School Board to pass a resolution preventing military recruiting in High Schools. “Money for schools- – not for war,” is the day’s theme.

For more information: Youth Against War and Racism – against.war@gmail.com – www.yawr.org

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