On a “Day Without Immigrants,” Manatee County School District was hit with a large number of student absences.
“We are definitely seeing significant numbers of absences today,” district spokesman Mike Barber said Thursday afternoon.
The “Day Without Immigrants” boycott took place around the U.S., in protest to President Donald Trump’s actions on immigration. Thousands of immigrants stayed home from work and school to prove their importance and significance to the economy.
In Manatee schools, about 11 percent, or 5,107 of the district’s more than 48,000 students were absent, with the largest number being at the elementary school level with 2,684. There were 959 middle school students and 1,464 high school students absent Thursday.
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The number of absences in the district was nearly double the 2,684 students who were absent Wednesday.
Three of the district’s Title I elementary schools illustrate the scale of Thursday’s absences.
At Daughtrey Elementary School, there were 265 students of the school’s total 803 students absent, an increase from 48 students out Wednesday.
Parents who arrived to pick up their children from Daughtrey were surprised to learn how many students had been absent. Still, many said they didn’t know anyone who kept their children home.
One little boy said he was missing nearly half his classmates Thursday.
“I missed my friends,” he said.
At Prine Elementary School, 159 out of the total 812 students were absent Thursday, up from the 49 students out Wednesday. And at Samoset Elementary School, there were 143 out of the total 600 students absent Thursday, an increase from the 29 absent Wednesday.
“It does seem to sort of have a correlation,” Barber said. “I’m not aware that we’ve had significant number of teachers or staff members out.”
District officials had been aware that they “might see something like this,” because of earlier social media activity about the planned protest.
But, Barber said, “It’s a little bit more than what we were anticipating.”
Sara Nealeigh contributed to this report.
Manatee County School District absences
Feb. 9, 2017
Feb. 15, 2017
Feb. 16, 2017
Source: Manatee County School District