More than 100 Miami Edison High School students called for the arrest of Assistant Principal Javier Perez while boycotting school Monday morning.
Instead of attending class, the students gathered at the park in front of the Little Haiti school.
“These young people are on the front line of a new wave of student activism and need our support and understanding, not beatings and jail time,” said Max Rameau, who is a member of CopWatch and was also one of the main organizers of the Umoja Shantytown village in Liberty City last year.
Monday’s protest was in response to last Friday’s melee between police and students which resulted in the arrest of 27 students. A multitude of police officers and students were treated for injuries.
One student was reportedly arrested for attempting to snap a photo of the altercation, according to The Miami Herald.
During the meeting, an Edison student wanted to know why her best friend, Agnes Bien-Aime, was arrested for trying to snap a photo during the disturbance.
”How is that appropriate?” said Marie Belfort, a 17-year-old senior at Edison. “I witnessed my friend getting arrested for no reason at all.”
The melee broke out from what began as a peaceful sit-in protest against an incident that occurred the prior day between Assistant Principal Perez and student Wadson Sagaille.
Police and students give different accounts about the details and facts surrounding both incidents.
About Thursday’s incident, police say Sagaille grabbed Perez “by his neck and pushed him back off his feet.” Students, however, say Perez grabbed Sagaille “in a choke hold”.
”The children are livid,” said an Edison teacher who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “They felt it wasn’t fair or just.”
About Friday’s incident, police say the melee broke out after students started pelting them with milk cartons, books and chairs. Students, however, say police instigated the melee by hitting a pregnant student with a nightstick.
Junior Sabrina Francois, 16, said the violence began when police showed up: Police “hit a pregnant girl with a stick. Even if they were just standing by, they hit so many girls.”
On Sunday, school officials ensured the facts remained muddled by forbidding reporters to attend a meeting between students, parents, school officials and community leaders.
Reporters were not allowed inside because of ”confidential information about students arrested, some of those students are minors,” said John Schuster, a school district spokesman.
Regardless of what really took place at Edison High School last week, one thing is certain: These students are learning more about the First Amendment than they would ever have in class.