AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Several hundred high school students in the Denver metro area, mostly in Aurora, walked out of class for a third day in protest of the police action in Ferguson, Missouri, and nationwide.
Students from six high schools and one middle school in Aurora and at least one high school in Denver participated in walkouts on Friday morning. The third day of walkouts continued after a protest Wednesday when four Denver Police Bike Patrol officers were struck by a vehicle, leaving one critically injured.
Police in Aurora tweeted that the students were from Smoky Hill, Rangeview, Overland, Gateway, Hinkley and Aurora Central high schools. Students from Columbia Middle School also participated.
The students marched to the Aurora Justice Center where they gathered outside the doors. One student said it was important they voice their concerns about the perceived lack of justice in the Michael Brown shooting.
“(Justice) don’t happen leaving the school, but it’s not happening in the courtroom,” Gateway High School student William Johnson said.
Some students from Cherry Creek Schools joined the protests, which totaled roughly 500 to 600 students.
They carried signs and chanted. One sign read, “They can’t kill us all.”
Officers monitored the demonstrators’ route. Police in Aurora confirmed that resources were being pulled from other areas to concentrate on the growing crowds outside the Aurora Justice Center.
Students, meanwhile, said they weren’t trying to be disruptive. On Wednesday, hundreds of primarily East High School students rallied near downtown. After they dispersed and marched east on Colfax Avenue toward their school, a car struck four Denver police officers, critically injuring John Adsit, who remains hospitalized.
Police said they’re still investigating the incident, and the initial cause of the accident appears to be unrelated to the protests. The car’s driver, who said he suffered a seizure, apologized on Friday afternoon.
Students on Friday said they weren’t intending to cause problems.
We’re just trying to make it known that we feel (there are injustices),” Gateway student Ne’Tavia Mercado said. “Every day, as a black community, we wake up and (think), ‘What if I get shot today and my future is gone?’ ”
The Aurora Municipal Building, the main branch of the Aurora Public Library, and Aurora Justice Center were placed on lockdown at 11 a.m. because of the protests.
The school district said it encouraged students to remain in class.
“We emphasize that every minute that your in the classroom and learning is very important,” spokeswoman Patti Moon said. “That’s something principals are talking to our students about and discussing other possible ways to express their views on issues while still being in the classrooms.”
The crowds started dispersing about 12:30 p.m. as students started heading back to class. The marches back to school were peaceful and organized.
Hundreds of students from North High School walked along Speer Boulevard toward the state Capitol Friday morning. A police escort followed the teenagers as they walked along the sidewalk.
A small crowd of protesters gathered at the state Capitol just after 11 a.m. Friday and congregated for a short time before dispersing.
Copter4 flew over the crowd, which was just a couple dozen people.
More students were seen marching on the CDOT camera at Federal and Jewell. It is not clear which high school they were coming from or where they were marching.