DENVER (CBS4)– Hundreds of students from several high schools in the Denver metro area walked out of class on Thursday morning in protest of the decision to not indict a Ferguson, Mo. police officer in the shooting death of a teenager.
Students from Lincoln, Montbello and George Washington High Schools walked out of class on Thursday morning. Copter4 flew above students as they marched in the area of 14th and Elati near the state Capitol.READ MORE: Colorado Weather: Quiet And Mild Until The Next Storm Arrives Tuesday
Students from Lincoln marched in protest from their campus carrying signs that read “We Are Ferguson” and “Black Lives Matter.”
They chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot!” and “What do we want? Justice!”
Jose Romero, 18, was one of the students who organized the march. He said the grand jury decision to not charge a New York City police officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man inspired him to rally his classmates to demonstrate.
“I was outraged by that,” Romero said of the New York case. He said he posted his plan on Facebook “encouraging every student to participate in a walkout for what’s just.”
“There’s two sides of education. The side that the school system that teaches us and the side of reality and we should be socially aware of whats going on as people,” said Romero.
Students from Washington High School blocked traffic for a short time when they crossed Leetsdale at Monaco. Police cars were seen with their lights flashing and redirecting traffic in that area.
Students marched down Monaco towards Yale where Copter4 flew over a smaller group. They were carrying signs and marching in the street. Police blocked traffic so they could make their way through.
Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg said those who left class to participate in the walkout will not be excused from class.READ MORE: Tri-County Health Investigating After Deer Trail School District Parents Claim Mask Mandate Is Being Ignored
“Our policy is if a student is not in class and not excused by the principal and parent then it is an unexcused absence,” said Boasberg.
Boasberg also said the protest was planned by the students.
Some students believe missing school is worth it to show how dedicated they are to getting their message out. One student said her mother does not agree with her leaving school.
“She’s not happy that I left school but we all have our voice. Our voice needs to be heard,” said student Alex Castanon. “We all came together.”
A Denver Public Schools employee from Lincoln High School called RTD buses at noon to the state Capitol to pick up the students and take them back to school.
This just one day after hundreds of students from East High School walked out of class on Wednesday afternoon.
Four Denver Police bike patrol officers were struck by a vehicle during that protest, one injured critically.
This is the latest in a series of protests in response to the grand jury decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of Michael Brown.
The Denver Protective Police Association released this statement in regards to the protests: The Denver Police Protective Association recognizes all citizens’ rights to the First Amendment and the right to assemble lawfully. We do not recognize groups that continually ignore the law and expect the police to protect them while they break the law.
It is unlawful to walk down the middle of any roadway regardless of why you are there. These unlawful protests cost taxpayers countless amounts of money. More importantly, during these unlawful protests, a tremendous amount of police resources are used to monitor and protect the protesting group, leaving regular law abiding citizens with little or no police coverage. If a domestic violence situation occurs, there may be no officers to respond to assist a helpless victim. If a residential burglary occurs, again no police to respond. You understand our frustration, because we took an oath to help all law abiding citizens, which we do faithfully every day.MORE NEWS: 'Shady... Cronyism' At Denver Parks And Rec Says City Council Member
There is a lawful way to protest and the City administration needs to hold everyone to that standard.