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More than 100 cut class to protest war


By Jennifer Mrozowski, Cincinnati Enquirer

EVANSTON - More than 100 students from Walnut Hills High School staged a protest against the war in Iraq during their last period of class Wednesday.

Some of the students have study hall during that period and didn't miss class, but others are expected to receive a "Friday school" detention from 3:40 to 5 p.m. for skipping a course.

Students said it was worth it to make a stand against the war, which reached a grim milestone last week as the death toll for the number of U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq surpassed 2,000. Students at the school lined up 2,000 toy soldiers on the sidewalk to represent the war dead.

The protest was held in conjunction with a national day of resistance organized by a New York-based group called World Can't Wait. According to the group's Web site, organizers hope to drive President Bush from office by mobilizing people and by staging protests and creating resistance. A call to the group's headquarters wasn't returned.

Senior Traven La Botz, a member of the Walnut Hills High School group Concerned Students for Peace, said the students wanted to put into action lessons they learned about civil disobedience.

"All of us are missing class for this, but I think we can make a class of this," he told students gathered around the flag pole.

La Botz, 18, reminded his classmates to remember the lessons they learned in history and English about civil rights activist Rosa Parks, who died last week.

"With the death of Rosa Parks, we mourn a great activist and practicer of civil disobedience," La Botz said. "For all who walked out today, I'd like to give you an 'A.' You are not only learning lessons but putting them into practice."

Students chanted anti-war slogans for about an hour and some held signs that said "Bring the troops home now."

Seventh-grader Cayla Burton, 12, said she decided to join the protest because she has an uncle in the war and she's concerned about him.

"He could get kidnapped or he could get shot," she said. "They are spending money to kill people, not to help people."

Principal Marvin Koenig said the students who skipped a period for the protest will face the same punishment as any student who skips a class.

"I think it's anybody's right to protest as long as the individual realizes you have to live up to the consequences of the action," Koenig said.

E-mail jmrozowski@enquirer.com

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