Sunday, March 02, 2008

Edison Students to Protest Monday March 3

After successfully propelling themselves onto the stage of a public meeting regarding police attacks on protesters, Miami Edison Senior High School students are preparing to boycott what they call an "unsafe" environment at the school. The boycott starts on Monday, March 3, 2007 at 7:30am at Athalie Range Park, across the street from the school on 62nd Street and NW 5th Avenue.

In response to the incidents of Friday, February 29, when school, city of Miami and Miami-Dade County police brutally beat, tased and sicked K9 dogs on students protesting police brutality on campus, the school principal called an open meeting on Sunday, March 2 at the school. She began the meeting by announcing that students will be heard on Monday, at a school assembly, but not at the public meeting. In addition, the public was not allowed into the school assembly, a clear attempt to prevent the student's from publicly relaying the events of the 29th.

Students, however, maintained their protest spirit, chanting until the Principal agreed to allow students to speak. While she promised the police would be available to answer questions, neither Chief Darling of Miami-Dade Public Schools or any other police officer answered questions from students, parents or the public.

Student leader Chris Green spoke eloquently about what he witnessed and the biased media reporting on the story. Green also laid out the student demands, including the arrest of assistant principal Perez for assault on a student; dropping all charges on those arrested Friday; No retaliation against students; and the institution of Restorative Justice as a problem solving model, instead of arresting more young people in the future.

In addition, Green and other students announced the boycott. Students are asked to arrive on time and in full uniform for school, but instead of reporting to school, gathering at the Range Park across the street. Many students and parents expressed concern that they were to return to the same school and police force responsible for the violence on Friday. Organizations supporting the student movement are organizing workshops and classes at the park. Students say the boycott will continue until all demands are met and they feel safe at the school.

Defying charges of apathy and lack of civic involvement, the youth of Edison saw a wrong and organized to stand up for their rights. Instead of talking to the students and working towards a solution, the administration ordered the police to beat and arrest the mostly Black students. These young people are on the front line of a new wave of student activist and need our support and understanding, not beatings and jail time.

CopWatch is calling on activists to show up at the Athalie Range Park, with video and still cameras, to support the students and protect them from other potential attacks by the school administration and police. Students are gathering at 7:30am Monday and will remain throughout the school day.


Max Rameau
a project of the Center for Pan-African Development


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