As school district officials expressed sympathy but issued safety warnings, hundreds of students from a series of East Los Angeles-area high schools walked out of class Monday and took part in a march to City Hall in protest of Donald Trump’s election as president, and to call for unity and public safety.
The walkout occurred despite warnings from the Los Angeles Unified School District officials calling for students to remain on campus and find other ways of making their feelings known.
“Although it has been nearly a week since the presidential election, many students remain concerned about the outcome and want their voices to be heard,” LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King said.
“These are important conversations that need to take place. We want our students to know they are not alone. However, it is critical that students not allow their sentiments to derail their education or for their actions to place them in danger. Students should limit their activities to non- instructional time and — for their own safety and to follow the law — they should remain on campus.”
The student walkout came after a weekend of anti-Trump marches in the Los Angeles area, including the largest which started in MacArthur Park with up to 10,000 people Saturday and ended downtown. Similar protests have taken place in major cities around the nation, while conservative talk radio hosts blast the marches, saying demonstrators should accept the election results.
Nevertheless, students from Garfield High School walked out of class around 8:30 a.m. Monday and began marching toward Los Angeles City Hall. The students marched despite a large red sign hanging near the front door advising students not to walk out but to “Walk in.”
By late morning, students from campuses including Roosevelt, Lincoln and Mendez high schools joined in the march, all walking toward the Civic Center area where they converged for a boisterous rally on the steps of City Hall.
“We will not accept Trump’s sexism, racism, his put-down of LGBT folks,” one student told ABC7 as she marched.
Other students said they felt compelled to march to make their voices heard and demand that they and their immigrant families be protected.
Los Angeles police reported no arrests, saying the event was generally peaceful.
Earlier, Los Angeles police warned of the impending demonstrations in a statement that stated: “It is very difficult to ensure the safety of children when they leave the safe confines of their school campuses.”
The statement encouraged parents “to discuss with their children the importance of abiding by the law and ensuring that any expression of opinion should be done in a lawful, safe and peaceful manner.”
Police warned that protesters who are not peaceful and lawful are subject to arrest for such violations as obstruction of movement of vehicles and people, refusal to obey a lawful order by a law enforcement officer, vandalism and refusal to disperse after an unlawful assembly is declared.
Some school faculty members and staffers walked along with the students in an effort to ensure their safety. After gathering at City Hall, the crowd eventually dispersed, with the school district even providing some buses to help get the students back to campuses.
Thousands of students around Los Angeles County walked out of schools last week to demonstrate against the election outcome, prompting King to advise students they can participate in on-campus demonstrations as long as they are peaceful and during non-instructional times, but they are not permitted to leave school.
—City News Service
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