Hispanics stay home from school, work
The Hispanic community across the state took strides on Wednesday to make a statement against the new immigration law in Alabama and let others know Alabama needs the Hispanic population.
Franklin County’s Hispanic community made a strong statement by closing businesses, not reporting to work and keeping children home from school.
The day of protest was labeled “A Day Without Latinos” by one downtown Russellville business that had closed its doors for the day.
Margaret McDonald, a public relations representative for Pilgrim’s Pride, said the company, which has a very high number of Hispanic employees, knew about the day of protest in advance.
“Several of our employees at the Boaz plant came very respectfully to management and explained that they would be absent from work in order to make a statement against the immigration law,” McDonald said. “The Boaz plant was closed on Wednesday except for a few lines that were working on a volunteer basis.”
McDonald said even though the Boaz plant was closed, the Russellville plant remained open.
“I received word from HR that work went as scheduled at the Russellville plant on Wednesday,” she said.
Exact numbers as to how many people actually missed worked at the Russellville plant were not available.
In addition to businesses, schools also saw a drastic increase in the number of Hispanic students who were absent from classes on Wednesday.
According to Russellville Superintendent Rex Mayfield, Russellville City Schools had 170 Hispanic children absent system-wide on Wednesday out of a total of 800.
“I’ve been keeping an eye on the numbers for the past couple of weeks and the most we’ve had absent on one day up until today was around 60,” Mayfield said.
Franklin County Superintendent Gary Williams said the only two schools in their system with a significant Hispanic population are Tharptown High School and Tharptown Elementary School, both of which saw significant absences Wednesday.
“We had 38 absent at the elementary school and 30 absent at the high school, which is a lot more than we’ve had,” Williams said.
Read more about this story in Saturday’s edition of the Franklin County Times.