Business & Real Estate

Supermarket closes doors and students stay home for ‘Day Without Immigrants’ protest

Protesters chant outside the Grayson County courthouse in downtown Sherman, Texas, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017.
Protesters chant outside the Grayson County courthouse in downtown Sherman, Texas, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. AP

The supermarket chain La Superior closed its Sacramento area locations Thursday and many Woodland students stayed home in solidarity with a nationwide protest against President Donald Trump’s policies on immigration.

The “Day Without Immigrants” protest called on immigrants across 50 states to close down stores and stay home from school and work.

In Sacramento, the decision to shut La Superior doors to customers for the day came Wednesday after several patrons called on them to do it, said Luis Velazquez, a manager for the Stockton Boulevard site. The chain has two south Sacramento locations, a Gardenland location and a store in the Foothill Farms neighborhood. Stores in Woodland and Yuba City also closed.

“A lot of our clients were asking for support when they were shopping,” Velazquez said. “The same commitment that they have to us, we should have to them.”

Clerks who answered the phone at the Stockton and Pittsburg locations said they remained open Thursday.

Velazquez, who immigrated to the United States 11 years ago from Guadalajara, Jalisco, said most of his co-workers also come from different countries.

“We are all immigrants, we all come from another country,” he said. “When things like this happen, we come together and we value each other.”

Nearly 1,670 students missed school Thursday in the Woodland Joint Unified School District, many in apparent support of the national protest. District spokeswoman Callie Lutz said administrators anticipated an increase in absences.

“We were monitoring it all day,” Lutz said. She said the 1,669 students who missed school represented about three times the normal number of absences.

That translates to 15.4 percent of the approximately 10,800 students enrolled in the district.

“We are aware it was happening and we knew it was coming,” Lutz said. “Our community has a strong voice on some of these issues. So we knew we might be affected more than some other Sacramento communities.”

She said the absences in elementary schools reached 780 on Thursday. On Wednesday, a typical day for absenteeism, 215 students missed classes.

In secondary schools, she said, about 300 to 315 students miss school. Thursday’s absenteeism was 889.

“Obviously throughout the year we want to encourage parents and families to send their kids to school,” she said.

About 28 percent of the district’s students are classified as English learners, Lutz said.

Other districts reported less pronounced absences. Maria Lopez, spokeswoman for the Sacramento City Unified School District, said average daily attendance Thursday dropped to 88.5 percent from 95.1 percent the previous day. Lopez said it was unclear how many of the no-shows were observing the protest.

Similar reductions occurred in four Rancho Cordova schools with English learner populations ranging from 35 percent to 47 percent of enrollment, according to the Folsom Cordova Unified School District.

Nashelly Chavez: 916-321-1188, @nashellytweets

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