CHARLOTTE, NC (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is asking that parents not allow students to skip classes Monday for a planned immigrant rally and march in uptown.
Organizers of the march want students to skip classes and workers to leave their jobs to attend the affair at Marshall Park. Backers of the event are also asking for businesses to stay closed, and they want supporters to avoid shopping at any business that stays open.
A similar immigrant-backed march in uptown Feb. 16 attracted 8,000 supporters and 250 immigrant businesses stayed closed for the day.
CMS reported it had about 16,000 more absences that day than the day before, suggesting many students skipped classes to participate in what was being called A Day Without An Immigrant.
The district is hoping to avoid a repeat. Monday's event runs from noon to 4 p.m. and includes a rally and march.
"Academic achievement is strongest when students are safe and secure and in class... For this reason, CMS is not in support of any community effort planned for May 1, that encourages students to skip school," said a statement from the district.
"All students are reminded that skipping any class without prior administrative approval, is not in alignment with CMS educational priorities. We would encourage parents to have a conversation with their students about the importance of achieving educational goals and attending all classes each day."
CMS suffered a week of disruption after the Day Without Immigrants march, due to student walkouts. Five schools reported walkouts the day after the march, and protests continued at other schools the following week. In some cases, school officials were able to resolve conflicts by helping students organize their protests as pre-approved school affairs.
The May 1 march in uptown is being organized by Comunidad Colectiva, with support from the Southeast Asian Coalition and Alerta Migratoria. All three want city and county leaders to defy laws that call for the arrest and deportation of people who are in the country illegally. In Mecklenburg County, experts estimate that could be as many as 54,000 people.