On Friday, November 16th, more than a 1,000 students in Washington State walked out of school to protest the Iraq War and predatory military recruiters. Since the beginning of the Iraq War, the Pentagon has been assigning ever greater numbers of recruiters to dupe young people into signing up for this bloody, costly and illegal quagmire. In Olympia, 300-400 students walked out in protest, as did 600 young people in Seattle, 100 in Bellingham, and 100 in Tacoma. In the marginalized community of Tukwila, 200 students walked out of one high school to protest the recruiters that daily stalk their lunchrooms. Student made signs and marched to an I-5 overpass and the Tukwila City Hall for a civic and peaceful assembly. Now the principal and school district superintendent have begun a witch-hunt against students and at least six of their teachers and threatened to suspend students who walked out. The students took a bold stand against the war and these teachers have stood up for their students, some of the most disenfranchised in the state, both inside and outside the classroom. Now, who will stand up for these students and these six teachers?

One teacher was put on administrative leave on Monday, November 19th. At least five more were delivered memos notifying them that the Tukwila school district was “investigating reports of possible misconduct relating to you in connection with the student walk-out.” These teachers were further notified that they were not to discuss “this matter with any District students or staff.”. Several of these teachers were completely unconnected with the walkout, but having been previously been marked out as individuals that speak their minds, are being lumped into the teacher hunt.

With a “No Child Left Behind” Act of 2001 provision forcing principals to give up the private contact information of young people to military recruiters, students and teachers have the natural right to protest.

With a bloody and illegal war, where the soldiers that die and are maimed are disproportionately minorities and victims of the “poverty draft,” students and teachers of Tukwila have the natural right to protest.

With more than $500 billion dollars and the lives of more than a million Iraqis having been utterly wasted on a failed war, with schools in marginalized areas falling apart, we should all be protesting with the slogan: “Money for Schools—Not For War!”

With 70% of the American people polling against the war, and a Democratic Congress still making excuses for why it can’t cut off funding to bring the troops home, we must support the young people who speak out against their future being bombed away.

And we MUST support their teachers whose only misconduct was making their lesson plans truly relevant to the lives of their students.

If this Principal gets away with this attack on these workers and students, it will embolden more bosses to try to increase their profits by further undermining workers’ rights, wages, and benefits, and it will intimidate more people from speaking out against injustice. So all workers, unions, students and people opposed to this unjust war have an interest in uniting to defending these courageous students and teachers.

How can we give thanks to those on the REAL frontlines of freedom in America? Stay TUNED on how to manifest your solidarity.

Please pass on this alert to supportive organizations and individuals and be prepared to help soon.

–Tukwila Teachers and Students Solidarity Committee

For more info, contact Tom McCarthy at wandertom@yahoo.com or (253) 250-9290.

Visit the website of Youth Against War and Racism for a full report about the student walkouts: www.YAWR.org

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