A massive protest by Mexican American high school students was a milestone in a movement for Chicano rights.

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How a 1968 Student Protest Fueled a Chicano Rights Movement

Producer: Scott Michels

Thousands of high school students walked out of classes in East Los Angeles in 1968 to protest inequality for Mexican Americans in the public education system. Among the students' concerns were classes that omitted Hispanic history, a lack of bilingual teachers and a system that steered Chicano students to vocational training rather than college-prep classes.

After school administrators ignored students’ demands for improvements, the students planned a series of walkouts in protest. As many as 15,000 people joined in, including students from other high schools, teachers, parents and community activists.

The police confronted the demonstrators with violence, and 13 organizers were arrested. Charges against them were eventually dismissed on First Amendment grounds.

The protest, one of the largest by students in U.S. history, set the stage for a Chicano movement seeking a broad array of civil rights reforms for Latinos.

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