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Oakland Teacher Sics Secret Service on 2 Oakland High School Students

Secret Service Interrogates 2 Oakland High School Students for some "bad" comments concerning President Bush.
Homeland Security hits Oakland High

Secret Service interrogates students

by JR

"(The Secret Service agent) asked me if I knew my rights, and I said no. Then he said that I'm not going to even tell you your rights because of what you said. ... That was a threat to the government. I ain't going to tell you shit because you are owned by us now, you're owned by the government. If you lie or do whatever, I'm going to take you to federal prison and you're just going to be sitting there and your parents won't know about it," said one of two 16-year-old Southeast Asian Oakland High School students who were interrogated by the Secret Service on April 22.

The students' names aren't being used because they did not want to be identified.

"He asked us questions like was I a good shooter ... was I a good sniper ... am I good dealing with guns, and what are my thoughts on the president. I was in shock and fear. It was only me, the principal, Mr. Mok, and two agents."

The Secret Service agents had the students pulled out of class without parental knowledge or consent and interrogated them in a school conference room.

"Apparently there was a discussion going on about the war, and many of the students were expressing some criticism of Bush and the administration. And the fact that thousands of people have been killed in Iraq and things like that. In the course of this, some students made some comments (like) well, maybe he should be sniped or taken out, or something like that. And another student said Bush is wack or something like that," said Oakland High School teacher Larry Felson.

"The teacher was apparently upset about what had been said and the next day decided to call the police and ended up talking to the Secret Service. All we know is that the next day the Secret Service came in and interrogated these students, each one of them for 45 minutes or an hour or something like that."

The other student said, "I was very scared. I was crying because of what they said to us. I was very depressed at the time."

Police terrorism has been getting a lot of attention in the Bay Area with cases like the murder of Idriss Stelley, an unarmed young Black man who was shot over 20 times in downtown San Francisco's Metreon Theater, to the Oakland holice who call themselves the "Riders" in West Oakland, one of whom fled the country while the other three are facing charges of kidnapping, beating people, planting false evidence and writing false holice reports among other things, resulting in the Oakland department having to shell out $10.9 million to 119 victims.

On Martin Luther King's birthday in 2002, the SFPD fondled teenage girls in Hunters Point while holding their parents at gunpoint, and they gave another youth a concussion and a fractured jaw when he voiced concern about how his family was being treated. On Oct. 11, 2002, the SFPD descended on Thurgood Marshall High in Hunters Point with approximately 100 swat team members, ATF and sheriff's deputies to break up a fight between four unarmed students, arresting 11 students and one teacher and terrorizing dozens in their classroom hallways.

Since then, the OPD has run over the feet of high school students of color who were protesting the war in their communities and the wars overseas and arrested me and my comrade Rashida after they threw us to the ground, terrorizing us, scraping Rashida's face on the concrete, putting their knees on her neck and head and chipping her teeth. We also have to include what the OPD did to the Oakland dockworkers and people who were protesting the war on the Oakland docks on April 7, when they shot them in the face and body with wooden bullets, bean bags with scrap metal in them and concussion grenades.

The Bay Area has long been a testing ground for police and law enforcement terrorism. Now they are stepping up their game, and the Secret Service is bringing their terroristic activities that they use in the streets of the nation to school campuses. Oakland High just happens to be the first in the Bay Area that we've heard about.

"We are advocates for our children. We're protectors of our youth, so if anything goes down, we're supposed to be there supporting them 100 percent, and they should feel comfortable to raise anything," said Oakland High teacher Cassie Lopez.

And she is right. Education is supposed to be about us questioning what's going on around us and dialoguing about the world that we live in.

"The real reality is that we have a president, no matter what the polls say, that is very unpopular, particularly unpopular in the East Bay, where people have spoken out against him. Many people think that he is the international terrorist," said Oakland High teacher Larry Felson.

"Many people think that he should be brought to trial and the rest of these guys that run this closet government that's not really elected by the people, and many of the students know that here. So of course there is a righteous anger about what the government is doing, and a lot of people express themselves about it in the classroom. And that's why we think that what has happened here is an attempt to suppress students, suppress teachers and create an atmosphere of intimidation, and we need to stand up against this," continued Felson.

"It sounds like fascism to me, reaching a point where you don't have the freedom of speech - you can't voice your opinion. You aren't even supposed to have an opinion, the way they're conducting business right now. I've always let my kids know that you have a right to have an opinion about everything that goes on in this world, in your community, in your neighborhood, in your home," said Lopez.

Mok, who has been the principal of Oakland High School since July 2002 and has been working in the Oakland Unified School District since 1990, said, "I am not sure what the School Board or the superintendent are going to do. I know that I talked to the superintendent about the incident, but he didn't indicate to me exactly what his opinion was, so I can't speak for him."

"I was following the instructions of the Secret Service. ... Usually the protocol is to not interfere with their investigations and just follow instructions. And that's what I was doing," Mok added.

Just think, is this the kind of person or the kind of school system where you want to send your children daily, to be miseducated and programmed not to think for themselves, like this principal? Probably not.

You can call Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Dennis Chaconas at (510) 879-8200 or the Oakland Board of Education at (510) 887-0152.


More on this story can be found at SF Indymedia: