Who is Jack?

Jason+Romero%2C+a+freshman+in+Alpha+wears+a+full+torso+of+%22No+ICE%22+stickers+from+Jack.
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Who is Jack?

Jason Romero, a freshman in Alpha wears a full torso of

Jason Romero, a freshman in Alpha wears a full torso of "No ICE" stickers from Jack.

Marlene Alberto

Jason Romero, a freshman in Alpha wears a full torso of "No ICE" stickers from Jack.

Marlene Alberto

Marlene Alberto

Jason Romero, a freshman in Alpha wears a full torso of "No ICE" stickers from Jack.

Marilyn Alberto, Editor-in-Chief

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Jack is an eighty two year old man, a Vietnam war activist, and a long time advocate for the Freedom of Speech. Now he is a protestor of ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), handing out stickers at the front of schools including Bell High School.

This man has stirred up controversy at Bell. According to attendance counselor Mrs. Franco, “he approaches it totally wrong” by blaring music while kids enter the school in the morning and handing out stickers students can use to vandalize the school. He claims he only wishes to advocate for the freedom of speech.

Jack’s message is simple: ICE does “ruin and take away families” at the border while funding soldiers in Afghanistan.

With more than 265,000 immigrants arrested by ICE in 2018 and many more since, Jack is capitalizing on the immigrant  population within Bell to spur support for his anti-ICE sentiments. However, his attempts seem to be futile. On recent occasions administration have made students exit by the side gates instead of the front because Jack was outside.

The administration worries that Jack may be interested in trying to file a lawsuit against the school,  according to Assistant Principal Michael Santiago. “We close the gates because he goes up to the steps and waits to bump into anyone so he can hand out stickers, and he’s attempted to sue many schools over the matter.” Santiago said.  “We close the gates to keep students safe from any harm.” Jack has had a history of filing lawsuits according to Santiago Jack remarks that he has tried to sue before but the process is too long with little reward.

On several occasions he has been hassled by Bell police for handing out stickers while yelling things like “No Ice” and “La pinche Migra.” Vulgar language  and other inappropriate behavior, while within Jacks rights, make a scene and can be a disruption to learning.

In response, Principal Rafael Balderas issued Jack a document that requires him to make an appointment before entering school campus and restricts him to the sidewalk.  Balderas believes that it will help mitigate Jacks “inappropriate, disruptive, and out of place [behavior].” Jack is adamant that he only wants to make it known that everyone has a right to the freedom of speech which is what he is trying to do by handing out his stickers.

Gideon International representatives have handed out hundreds of Bibles after school, resulting in torn Bible pages on the floor, without negative response from the school. The difference between them and Jack may be that they notify the school of their mission and intentions while Jack abruptly shows up at the front of school, blares music during class time, and trespasses on school property.

While his approach is problematic, Jack isn’t alone. Churro sellers and Bottle collectors are allowed on campus after school, selling churros in the cafeteria and collecting bottles from inside the student locker rooms. This begs the question, why is Jack at fault for trespassing by going up to the school’s front steps after school?

Ms. Franco reports that “It’s a safety concern to us when [Jack’s] up in front of the school doors,” but goes on to say that “Him being on campus isn’t the concern, it’s the stickers and it ends up on school property.”

When asked if he would consider passing out flyers instead of stickers so that his approach would be less controversial Jack responded, “I already considered it and I prefer stickers.” Since flyers are “more expensive” and “more people will read [stickers] because they can be posted up anywhere.” Jack is happy to stick with what he’s doing because “kids like music” and either way admin will “still complain because they don’t think that I have a right to be doing this”.  

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