Monday, February 8, 2010

CBS News with Walter Cronkite - 1968 Edcouch-Elsa School Walkout

This was originally broadcast on 11/29/68 and deals with the famous Edcouch-Elsa walkout. So this is a interesting video of a much talked about moment of Rio Grande Valley history:



Here is some background and a list of demands by the protesting students (this list was originally found on this very useful site)

LIST OF DEMANDS
We, the student body of Edcouch-Elsa Junior and Senior High School, demand of the officials and administrators:
1. That no disciplinary action be taken against any student or teacher that has taken part in this movement and that all suspended students and teachers be re-instated to their previous post or office and that any mention of such action omitted from school records. Also all intimidations should stop,
2. That no threats, intimidation or penalties be made against any student by teachers or administrators for membership or attendance of meetings of any club or organization outside of school.
3. That the students be allowed to select their own candidates for Student Council --- it should be the students Student Council.
4. That excessive and unfair penalties and punishments stop being given students for minor infractions or completely ridiculous reasons, for example:
a) student suspended three days for failure to keep appointment with teacher after school.
b) student suspended for three days for failing to stand at school pep rally!
c) if something (shorts, tennis shoes,) are stolen from lockers the students are punished (paddled or sent to do manual Labor) for not being able to suit up!
Likewise, that due process be followed in cases of suspension or expulsion of students, that is, that a student be given opportunity to defend himself and that evidence be presented to both administrators and parents. Also no paddling should be given student until explanation for punishment be given to parents, if students request such explanation.
5. That no teacher or administrator shall use profanity or abusive language in presence of students and in no case shall any teacher or administrator lay a hand on a student.
6. That, in the case of tardy or absent students, the students be allowed to re-enter class and no points taken off until his excuse is verified or not. Students should not be kept out of class till parents call school.
7. That either the price of the cafeteria lunch be lowered to a more reasonable price or that more and better foods be served.
8. That, as Chicano students, we be allowed to speak our mother tongue, Spanish, on school premises without being subjected to humiliating or unjust penalties,
9. That courses be introduced, as a regular part of the curriculum, to show the contributions of Mexicans and Mexican Americans to this state and region. For instance, factual accounts of the history of the Southwest and Texas, courses in Mexican history and culture. Also, that qualified, certified teachers be hired to teach these courses.


10. That all college preparatory courses be signalled out for students by
time they enter high school.
11. That more effective counseling be given students from understanding counselors that are able to relate to students. Present student-counselor ratio is too great, we need more counselors. Likewise, more assemblies on career opportunities, availability of scholarships', grants, loans, college entrance requirements, etc.
12. Finally that the blatant discrimination against the Mexican American students in this school stop immediately. We demand Justice.
13. That regulations for "passes" be set down clearly and defined so that no
question remains as to when passes are needed or not. The present system, or lack of it, is ridiculous.
14. That special attention be given the situation a great number of Edcouch-Elsa students find themselves in — that is, they are migrant workers.
a) Student choices of subjects in spring registration be respected and adopted in the fall term, these subject forms are often disregarded.
b) Migrants leave school early, they take part in an accelerated program
Advance tests are supposed to be given before they leave. Often teachers do not let migrants take tests or do not send tests to students
up north after them. All tests should be given to migrant students before they leave. ,
15. That school facilities be improved, renovated, replaced or installed where appropriate. For example:
a) Fans-teachers often use fans only for their own comfort, ignoring students.
b) Heaters-The heaters are for the most part outdated and not in working order. We need new heaters.
c) Restrooms-Some of the restrooms and toilets are not cleaned and inoperable; constantly out of repair.
d) Windows-Fix broken windows.
e) Walls-repair holes in wall. Give school buildings a face-lifting.
f) How about Hot water for the showers.
We want to be proud of our school.
Recommendations
1. Teachers have been driving buses for the district up till-now. We recommend that either students, senior students, or townspeople be hired to fill these positions.
2. We recommend that longer periods of time be given to get to classes between classes. Five minutes would be sufficient.
STUDENT COMMITTEE November 7, 1968

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