Thousands in Miami Skip School In Elian 'Stoppage'

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Thousands of Miami teachers and students skipped school last week on a day set aside by community leaders to show opposition to federal authorities' seizure of a Cuban boy who has been the center of a politically charged custody and asylum dispute.

Cuban-American leaders, who have criticized the forcible return of 1st grader Elian Gonzalez to his father, had proclaimed April 25 Martes Muerto, or "Dead Tuesday," and urged business owners to shutter their shops and parents to keep their children out of school.

In the Miami-Dade County school system, 115,419 students—nearly one-third of the 362,000 students in the nation's fourth-largest district—stayed away from school, and 3,908 teachers—20 percent of the teaching staff—did not come to work, according to district officials. Absences would be excused, officials said, as long as teachers used personal days and students submitted notes from their parents stating that the absence was due to a school board-approved reason.

Police reported that the work stoppage was peaceful. That contrasted with scattered outbreaks of violence the previous weekend, when Elian was taken from the home of the Miami relatives with whom he had been staying since he was rescued in November following a boat wreck that killed his mother and others who had left Cuba for the United States. The 6-year-old is now staying with his father and stepmother on Maryland's Eastern Shore under federal protection, pending legal and administrative appeals.

Pete Cuccaro, the chief of police for the school district, added that the absenteeism had occurred peacefully and noted that the organizers of the action had called repeatedly for nonviolence.

Buses Halted

Lincoln Martí School, the private school Elian had attended in Miami, was closed, and The Miami Herald reported that thousands of students who ride private buses to school were without transportation because many bus drivers honored the work stoppage.

The response to "Dead Tuesday" was most profound in areas with large Hispanic populations, district officials said. At Hialeah High School, in a predominantly Cuban-American neighborhood west of Miami, 60 percent of the 3,200 students skipped school, said Patricia Roberts, one of the assistant principals.

At G.W. Carver Middle School in Little Havana, where many students are of Cuban extraction, 344 of the 938 students stayed home, and teacher absenteeism was twice the normal level, with 12 of the 41 teachers taking personal days, said Principal Simine Heise. In anticipation of the work stoppage, Ms. Heise said, she polled her faculty the day before and called in nine substitutes.

Miami-Dade Superintendent of Schools Roger C. Cuevas had encouraged teachers to discuss the Gonzalez case and the work stoppage with students. "We have a teachable moment, the perfect opportunity for our students to learn more about civics, democracy, and the branches of government," he said in a statement released the day before the demonstration.

Vol. 19, Issue 34, Page 3

Published in Print: May 3, 2000, as Thousands in Miami Skip School In Elian 'Stoppage'
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >