- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 15, 2003

About 100 high school and junior high school students ditched classes at D.C. schools yesterday to protest American involvement in a war against Iraq.
Administrators did not say whether the students would face any disciplinary action for skipping school to take part in the protest, which began about 8 a.m. at the flagpole outside Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, at 3950 Chesapeake St. NW.
Some students from nearby Hill and Deal junior high schools joined in to march up Nebraska Avenue, chanting and carrying signs to the corner of Wisconsin Avenue.
Steve Tarason, principal of the 1,500-student Wilson High, said he told the student organizers Friday that they might be punished if the protest got out of hand, but he told The Washington Times that the students have a right to express their opinions.
"The students are concerned about the war in Iraq," Mr. Tarason said.
Meagan Jeff, 17, a senior who plans to major in marine biology in college, said she became interested in the Middle East crisis about a year ago.
"My ex-boyfriend graduated and went into the Army last year," she said. "He's stationed now in the Persian Gulf."
One of the students, 18-year-old Dante Furioso, said he was a veteran protester. He plans to take part in anti-war demonstrations downtown Saturday.
"Our president wants to spend billions of dollars on war, but we need millions of dollars for our schools and teachers," Mr. Furioso said.
A dozen Metropolitan Police officers circled the students as they marched. A warning ticket was issued to a protester who parked her car in a Wisconsin Avenue crosswalk.
Some counterprotesters jeered the students and the handful of older protesters who joined the march.
Juliette Steadman, 37, pushing her 9-month-old twins in a baby carriage and wearing a sign that said "Bombing Iraq is so 10 years ago," turned out to support her 15-year-old daughter, Susi.
Rose Marie, 76, and Joe Flynn, 80, of nearby Glen Echo Heights, carried a sign that read: "Gray Panthers, Age and Youth In Action."
Students jumped up and down to keep warm in the freezing temperatures. Four waited in a nearby Starbucks until another student carried in a bag of new white socks to add insulation over the socks they wore.
Sixteen high school students from Brazil watched the protest. They are in the United States for 16 days to observe the education system, and Wilson High was on their agenda yesterday.
"Here's a lesson in American education," said their Volunteers of America leader, Dennis Shaw, a retired teacher, principal and superintendent from South Dakota.


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