Reading

Student Demands from the East LA Walkouts

Explore excerpts from the demands of the mostly Latinx students who led a series of school walkouts in Los Angeles in 1968.
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At a Glance

Reading

Language

English — US

Subject

  • History
  • Social Studies
  • Democracy & Civic Engagement
  • Racism

Over the course of several weeks in March 1968, thousands of mostly Latinx students walked out of public schools in Los Angeles to protest unequal educational opportunities and to demand an education that valued their culture and identities. The following are excerpts from their demands.

  1. Bilingual-Bi-cultural education will be compulsory for Mexican-Americans in the Los Angeles City School System where there is a majority of Mexican-American students. This program will be open to all other students on a voluntary basis . . . In-service education programs will be instituted immediately for all staff in order to teach them the Spanish language and increase their understanding of the history, traditions, and contributions of the Mexican culture . . .
  2. Administrators and teachers who show any form of prejudice toward Mexican or Mexican-American students, including failure to recognize, understand, and appreciate Mexican culture and heritage, will be removed from East Los Angeles schools . . .
  3. Textbooks and curriculum will be developed to show Mexican and Mexican-American contribution to the U.S. society and to show the injustices that Mexicans have suffered as a culture of that society. Textbooks should concentrate on Mexican folklore rather than English folklore.
  4. All administrators where schools have majority of Mexican-American descent shall be of Mexican-American descent. If necessary, training programs should be instituted to provide a cadre of Mexican-American administrators. 1  

Connection Questions 

  1. In your own words, what does the demand you are examining say? 
  2. How was this demand trying to expand the story told about Mexican-American students?
  • 1“1968 Walkout Demands,” United Way Greater Los Angeles website, February 26, 2018.

How to Cite This Reading

Facing History and Ourselves, “Student Demands from the East LA Walkouts,” last updated April 28, 2022. 

This reading contains text not authored by Facing History and Ourselves. See footnotes for source information.

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