(Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press)

Darius Fequiere usually gets perfect attendance from his sixth- and seventh-grade students.

But on Thursday, only 17 of 26 students showed up to his homeroom at New Open World Academy in Koreatown, where Fequiere teaches special education and English language development.

He tweeted some of the emails that students sent him Wednesday night, telling him they wouldn’t be at school. They were participating in the Day Without Immigrants protest, a nationwide movement in which immigrants closed their businesses and stayed home from school to show their economic importance.

Fequiere wasn’t the only teacher missing a few kids in the classroom. Throughout Los Angeles Unified School District, about 3,000 more students were absent on Thursday than on an average day.

Schools get funding based on the number of students who attend school each day. So if a large number of students stayed home Thursday, the school district could lose thousands of dollars.

Darius Fequiere

The students who showed up to Fequiere’s class mostly live between Westlake and Pico Union, home to large immigrant populations.

They talked about recent ICE raids in their community and family members and neighbors who are afraid to leave home or don’t know what to do if authorities come to their homes.

“It’s a lot for them to handle and it’s a lot for them to process,” Fequiere said. “These are the things that they face every day.”

So Fequiere, a first-generation Haitian American showed the students a YouTube video by CHIRLA, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. The video explains about the rights immigrants have in a raid.

He said he also planned to talk to the students who skipped school about why they made that decision, and to advise them to organize and keep in touch with each other rather than protesting in isolation.

“Everyone can go and walk out,” Fequiere said. "But my students’ ability to understand why they’re doing things and having the information to protect themselves and protect their families … being able to create that sustainability for themselves, I think that is the ultimate form of protest for my students.”

A Salvadoran soldier checks a man for gang-related tattoos.

This article was sourced from http://easternmednews.com