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Community Digest

Compton Schools : Protests at 2 Campuses Decry Alleged Bias Against Latinos

June 03, 1993

Latino activists organized student demonstrations at Walton Middle School and Compton High School this week to call attention to alleged discrimination against Latinos in the Compton Unified School District.

School officials denied the charges of discrimination and said they are willing to address specific concerns of the demonstrators.

The Walton walkout on Tuesday drew an estimated 100 to 200 students. About 75 students left campus rather than return to class after the morning protest, officials said. Wednesday's demonstration at Compton High involved about 60 students, according to school officials.

Organizer John Ortega, a local attorney, said his group would continue to push for change. "I think we're getting our message across," Ortega said. "We're tired of discrimination."

The district's student population is about 57% Latino, while only about 5.5% of teachers are Latino.

District officials acknowledged the need to recruit more Latinos and be sensitive to Latino concerns, but said they are making progress.

Recent efforts include offering low-cost courses at school sites on bilingual teaching methods and Spanish, requiring principals to attend a summer seminar on how to monitor bilingual programs, and mandating summer training for elementary teachers on instructing children who speak limited English, Deputy Supt. Thelma Moore said.

The district and the teachers union also plan community meetings with Latino students and parents to address their concerns directly, she added.

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