About 80 Tempe middle school students walked out of class Wednesday afternoon, despite pleas from Hispanic lawmakers to stay in school.
It was the second day of school walkouts throughout the Valley. In Tempe, Connolly Middle School students left about 11:45 a.m. and walked more than two miles to McKemy Middle School, police said. Some were protesting proposed immigration legislation, school officials said, but many did not understand why they walked out.
Tempe Elementary School District spokeswoman Monica Allread said the students skipped lunch and were hungry and thirsty when they arrived at McKemy Middle School.
Many asked to return to school.
The district sent a bus to the school about 1 p.m. to take the students back to Connolly.
“We want these kids to be in school,” Allread said, “and do what they believe is right — but outside of school hours if at all possible.”
Allread did not know if parents were called or if the students faced punishments.
A different type of demonstration in west Phoenix on Tuesday did not end as peacefully.
Police arrested five protesters and cited 106 during a rally where a crowd of 100 to 200 blocked streets, threw rocks and argued with opposing demonstrators.
The escalation was the first time marchers have been arrested in the Valley since demonstrations began last week. Police said most of the participants were students from Trevor Browne High School, Maryvale High School and Carl Hayden High School.
Streets were closed about 8 p.m. Tuesday on 67th Avenue from Osborn to Thomas roads, while demonstrators in painted, decorated cars cruised the area and marched.
At least 25 people stood along sidewalks opposing the demonstrators.
Police said controlling the demonstrators was difficult as they formed small clusters throughout the Maryvale area. The group used cell phones to arrange various meeting places.
“We really had to separate resources,” said Phoenix Sgt. Lauri Williams. “There was no one hurt, but it certainly had the potential to escalate, so it was important we were there.”
Williams said police met early Wednesday to discuss ways to maintain control and prevent violence and injuries.
Police arrested marchers for reasons including drug possession, outstanding warrants and failure to obey officers, Williams said.
In Tucson, about 800 high school students also left class Wednesday to protest.
They walked toward the U.S. Border Patrol headquarters.
One day earlier, more than 100 Mesa students left classes at Carson Junior High and Westwood High schools to protest.
- The Associated Press contributed to this report.