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Student protesters need permission slips

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer

Dalia Perez, 15, cares very little about whether her absence is excused or unexcused when it comes to standing up for something she believes in.

But Perez, who left Carson High School after first period Monday to join a protest against proposed immigration reform, will have a note from the very person she says could be affected by a change in law.

Her mother.

“We want to get the point across that we have the right to say no to the new law they want to pass,” she said Monday afternoon after returning to school grounds with some of her fellow protesters.

It’s not just her mother who could be affected by immigration reform, but her family, her relatives and her friends.

“All my people,” she said.

Her mother, who believes that Latinos “should stay here and work for the American dream without being called a criminal,” Perez said, will write the note.

“It will tell the truth that I was at the march,” she said.

According to Carson High School Principal Fred Perdomo, any student coming in today with a note from a parent or guardian will have an excused absence.

The rally, which began at lunch – when students are normally allowed off campus – lasted for several hours. It’s not clear how many students returned to school.

“Obviously, if somebody is out of school without the parents’ permission or without the school’s permission, it’s a truancy,” Perdomo said.

Students with a series of unexcused absences can be penalized under the school’s minimum-attendance policy and receive no grade in a class, even if they are passing.

The protest will count for an excused absence, according to Carson City School District Superintendent Mary Pierczynski.

“Parents have the right by law to excuse kids for any reason,” she said. “If kids didn’t return to school (after lunch), they’ll have to have an excuse from their parents or it’ll be considered an unexcused absence.”

The school district knew nothing of the protest beforehand.

“This was not a school-sanctioned situation,” she said. “The school did not sanction anybody leaving campus to do any type of political demonstration.”

Students have several days to turn in a note before receiving an unexcused absence.

• Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.