Thursday's "Day Without Immigrants" protest taking place across the U.S. had quite an effect right here in Grand Rapids.

Officials from GRPS said Thursday that they saw such a severe dip in attendance that the day will likely not count as a school day, and they will instead count it as a snow day.

75-percent of the student body must be in attendance at a school in order for the day to count.

The schools with the highest percentage of absences (most around 50-percent) included Buchanan Elementary, Cesar E. Chavez Elementary, Westwood Middle School, Union High School, Burton Elementary and Middle Schools, Harrison Park School, Innovation Central High School, and SWCC.

On Wednesday, a letter was sent home to parents that read:

Thank you for your commitment to your child’s education. We are proud to partner with you to provide your child with an important foundation for their future.

We are aware of a planned immigration protest for this Thursday that includes keeping students out of school. We believe that all people have the right to voice their opinion and make a stand for their beliefs. However, we also believe that it is important that children are in school, on time, every day, ready to learn. When a child misses school, for any reason, they miss a chance to learn and grow. We hope that we can count on you to send your child to school each and every day, including Thursday.

Our school, along with Grand Rapids Public Schools’ Office of Equity and Inclusion, is proud to support all students and ensure that everyone has access to a high quality education, regardless of race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, religion, gender, national origin, language, or immigration status. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Equity and Inclusion at 819-2129 or email

No final attendance numbers are known. The district is expected to know just how many children were out today by midnight.

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