Dozens of high school students from Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs walked out of class Wednesday to protest Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States.
The students who took to streets and sidewalks come from vastly different places — a wealthy, white liberal community, a racially mixed urban neighborhood that has been the focus of intense efforts to reform struggling schools, and a city known for being politically and socially conservative.
Starting at about 9 a.m. at Boulder High, anywhere from 30 to 150 students left class to protest the election results and their implications, said Briggs Gamblin, a Boulder Valley School District spokesman. The school has been a hotbed of student activism on other issues, most recently serving as an epicenter of the opt-out movement opposed to state standardized testing.
Students lined a fence bordering a soccer field, chanting and waving signs at cars passing on Arapahoe Road.
Gamblin said the students taking part in the protest would not face discipline.
“They are exercising their First Amendment rights,” he said. “The district is neither advocating it nor prohibiting it. But students need to know any work they miss because of the protests, it is on them to make it up.”
A Denver Public Schools spokesman confirmed that students at Martin Luther King Jr. Early College in Denver also walked out of class and headed to Denver’s former Montbello High School, which now houses several schools.
Tony Smith, an instructional superintendent for DPS, said he suspects the students chose Montbello because “this is a hub for the community.”
Once predominantly an African-American neighborhood, Montbello is a racially mixed area with a large number of Latino families. That part of northeast Denver has been the focus of some of DPS’s most aggressive reform efforts, which included opening new charter schools, closing low performing schools and replacing teachers and staff.
In Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs School District 11 officials reported that Palmer High School near downtown was put on on a precautionary lockdown due to a protest near the school. KKTV, a Colorado Springs TV station, reported that the protest originated at Colorado College and that students from Palmer High joined in. The district said on Facebook that students are being kept inside, “but classes are resuming as scheduled.”