KHS students speak up against the war in Iraq

KINGMAN ­ A group of 10 students from the north campus of Kingman High School made their feelings known about the war in Iraq to motorists on Stockton Hill Road on Wednesday.

Senior Tara Finley organized the protest, which concentrated its efforts at the corner of Stockton Hill and Airway Avenue. Some passing motorists honked their horns in apparent support of the message on handmade signs held up by the students.

"We're very angry this war is going on and so many of our fellow Americans are dying," said Finley as she held up a sign that read, "War is not the answer," and referred to a Web site.

"There was no reason to go into Iraq in the first place. This is Bush's war for his corporate friends.

"If we keeping waiting more will die and it will turn into another Vietnam. We're trying to raise awareness in this town because there are not enough people speaking their opinions."

The Associated Press reported Monday that at least 2,025 U.S. military personnel have died in Iraq since the beginning of the war there in March 2003. Of that figure, 1,886 died after President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1, 2003.

Junior Joe McNally carried a sign that read, "War is a good business."

He was asked if he is concerned about facing disciplinary action at school for cutting classes to join the protest.

"Well, yes, but this is all about freedom of speech," McNally said.

"I'm here because my cousins are over there.

"We shouldn't be there. They didn't attack us.

"Back in the Revolutionary War, people got yelled at, but they did what was right and so are we."

"Bush lies" and "Your ignorance is their power" were other signs displayed by students.

Finley said future protests of the war are planned along Stockton Hill Road at noon each Monday and at 5 p.m. every Wednesday downtown in Locomotive Park.

She added that school administrators tried to scare students out of participating in the protest.

KHS North Principal Pat Mickelson said Finley posted signs about the protest around the school without permission. Once Finely was identified as the student posting the signs, Mickelson called her into her office.

"I gave her permission to post them legally on student bulletin boards after we talked," Mickelson said.

"She removed the signs where she had put them up inappropriately.

Mickelson said she also discussed effective ways to protest with Finley.

She added that students walking out of class to participate face disciplinary action.

It seems unlikely word of the Kingman protest will be picked up by media outside of Mohave County.

McNally was asked if that would hinder what the group was trying to accomplish.

"It kind of puts a damper on it," he said.

"But other kids in other towns will hear about this, get the same idea, and all will begin to do it.

"We're spreading the word."

McNally said President Bush's father, who was president in the 1990s, got the United States into the Gulf War because of oil. We now have the technology for alternate fuels, he said.

"Bush is doing this for his corporate friends," McNally said. "That's why my sign says war is good business."