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Impact from student walk-out continues

Students hope to send 500 letters to national leaders

Detention or in-school suspension are some of the possible ramifications for Sunnyside students who participated in last Friday morning's walk-out protesting U.S. immigration policy proposals.

School District spokesperson Julie Kaplicky said 15 students from Chief Kamiakin Elementary School joined the walk-out, 23 from Harrison Middle School and 40 from the high school.

"Each school will follow the unexcused absence protocol," said Kaplicky, who noted that the district looks at participation in the walk-out as skipping school.

Depending on how many unexcused absences a student has, discipline can range from detention to an in-school suspension, in which students are confined to one room at the school for an entire day. "They can still do their homework and there is a teacher in the room with them," explained Ryan Maxwell, Assistant Principal at Sunnyside High School.

Other impacts from the walk-out go beyond in-school punishment.

Kaplicky said students with unexcused absences, like those from last Friday's walk-out, are also subject to a temporary loss of eligibility for extracurricular activities and sports.

Maxwell said grades could be impacted if students don't make up the work they missed during the walk-out.

The student walk-out not only contradicted school policy, but also ran counter to a recommendation by MECHA, an Hispanic student organization at the high school.

"The day before the walk-out, MECHA held lunch time meetings and decided as a group that the walk-out would not be the best thing to do," Maxwell noted. "The student body as a whole agreed."

What MECHA and other student leaders recommend, said Maxwell, is a letter writing campaign to U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell and other officials in Washington D.C.

"I was very impressed with the leadership of the students," Maxwell said.

He noted the letter writing campaign is already well underway, with students hoping to send at least 500 letters to the nation's capital.

The letter campaign continued this afternoon, Wednesday, when high school students gathered in the high school auditorium to put their opinions in writing.

"We're not taking a stance either way," Maxwell said of the district's position, noting the school encourages both those for and against the immigration proposals to send their opinions to legislators.


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