Interviews with H.S. Students: L.A. and Oakland
"We're Tired of the Whole Bush Regime"
Revolution #026, December 12, 2005, posted at revcom.us
On November 2nd, high school students all over the country busted out of school to declare The World Can't Wait...Drive Out the Bush Regime! Many students were met with heavy repression for speaking out or locked down in schools, in an attempt to prevent them from protesting.
A 16 year old student at Granada Hills High School -- a school with a largely middle class student population in a suburb of L.A. -- wore a World Can't Wait sticker on his T-shirt to let people know about the day. The administration and school security grabbed him and took him into the Dean's office and told him to take it off. He told Revolution:
This security guard told me to take off my sticker. I said no, this is what I'm for--I'm for the peace movement. A cop comes over and tells me to take is off and then he grabbed my arm and he took me to the dean. The dean told me to take off the sticker and I took it off and gave it to him and I asked him why he wasn't with the peace movement . . .
I got up and said, 'Well, you guys practically want to take my rights away..." So I took off my shirt and tossed it to him and I took off my shoes and I took off my shorts and belt. Then the dean was saying not to throw my clothes at him. But I told them that they were the ones taking my rights away.
The dean kept my shirt and said that there was something wrong with me. He said I was acting funny and that I was on drugs. He kept asking me what I was on. He sent me to the nurse because he said there was something wrong with me. I was so angry that I started tearing up.
The dean said, 'Now, what's really bothering you? I know it's not just this [the incident with the sticker] stuff.' I told him that it's this society. I'm just so sick of this society. I asked him if he couldn't see all that is wrong. He took me back into the office. I tried to explain to him that I'm with the peace movement--but that's not what he wanted to hear.
So, he sent me to the nurse. He talked to the nurse and told her that he thought I was on something and that I might hurt myself or others . . . When I was in there [the nurses office] I was thinking of what to say . . . I asked her if I was there because they thought I was psychotic or something . . . I told her that there was nothing wrong with me. So I started talking to her about my life. I told her about why I got into the peace movement and I told her about my baseball team and that I'm a poet and I play the guitar.
I told her that the reason why I got into the peace movement is because I was never fooled or brought into a religion or anything I've always had a mind of my own and never stereotyped. I've always questioned things. I told her about my first protest and she said she was also for the peace movement. She protested against Vietnam. She said that what's happening now is totally wrong . . . She told me that if I needed anything to give her a call . . .
On Nov. 2, Jesse, an Oakland High student, told Revolution:
The reason that we are here is that we're tired of the society being structured for us to go to jail or to war. Basically, that's what they're telling us. Our principal told us, "If there's a war go to war." He's telling us to go to war, not college, war. Hello? We're trying to succeed in life. We're trying to be something in life and Bush is passing all these laws, putting people on the Supreme Court to change the laws, making it more conservative so we don't succeed in life. We're tired of this. We're tired of the whole Bush regime.
What he did with Hurricane Katrina, that pissed us off. My grandmother was down there in water up to her neck. She's 57 years old. And there's alligators out there too, she could have gotten eaten. And the water was poisonous too. And he left those people out there for five days. People were dying. And they didn't send trucks. They sent body bags. That's messed up. They weren't even trying to rescue people. They passed up people. My grandmother was up on a roof, waving helicopters down and they passed her up. She's sitting up there waving signs and everything and they passed her up. My grandmother is in Texas now but what she had to endure. She's sick actually from that stuff...
Revolution:What did you have to go through to get here?
They locked us up! They greased the gates. They put barbed wire on the gates. They hired six more security guards. They had police cars outside saying that you were going to get arrested if you protest. They were chasing people. Locking us in is a fire hazard. Back when I was in the ninth grade and we were protesting the Iraq war they locked us in and we told them this was a fire hazard, and they got in trouble for locking us in. And they still locked the gates this time. Teachers threatened to flunk kids and they threatened us with suspensions. They were pushing and shoving us, telling us to go back to class. Only a few people made it and those people had to climb over a barbed wire fence to get out of school. This is wrong.