Miami Beach, Florida (9/28/07)–Today Hillary Clinton unveiled her plan for Universal Pre-K. A $5 to $10 billion a year proposal to provide four year olds a “high-quality pre-kindergarten program,ÔŅĹ Clinton said it was aimed at giving them a “chance to succeed and to fulfill his or her God-given potential.” What began as an uneventful speech at North Beach Elementary School, however, quickly turned into a free for all as angry toddlers stormed the stage in protest. Shouting “Hell no we won’t go,” the toddlers managed to shut down Mrs. Clinton’s presentation.
The protest appeared well planned and organized. The toddlers were carrying signs showing their displeasure at Clinton’s Universal Pre-K plan. One sign held by a toddler later identified as Samantha read, “Keep your proposals off my play time.” Another sign carried by an unidentified protester appeared to be written in purple Crayola Crayon and read “Barney for President.” In what was a well coordinated move, many of the toddlers then chained themselves together on the stage to make it more difficult for police and school officials to clear them from the area.
A visibly shaken Clinton at first tried to respond to the protesting toddlers. “It takes a village to raise a child,” she said. “And if elected, I’ll be that village. I know what’s best for you and all Americans.” In response, one toddler removed what appeared to be a soiled diaper and flung it at Mrs. Clinton. A quick thinking secret service agent launched himself in front of the former first lady and was struck in the chest by the flying load. He was treated at the scene and released.
Cindy Jones, a mother of one of the protesting toddlers, gushed with pride: “As soon as my son heard about the pre-K program he began organizing this protest. He’s such the little activist.” Others were less sanguine. One father who refused to give his name said that many of the toddlers were known trouble makers. “Some of these kids have been real problems at the community pool. This behavior doesn’t surprise me at all,” he said.
The protest subsided when most of the toddlers drifted off for their morning nap. Unable to continue her speech, however, an angry Clinton stormed out of the auditorium.
Published or updated August 2, 2011.