Hundreds of students from metro Denver area high schools, a middle school and and at least two K-8 schools, walked out of class on Friday and marched to the city's municipal center.
The students were taking part in a third day of demonstrations in response to grand juries in New York and Missouri deciding not to prosecute police officers who killed unarmed black men.
The Associated Press reported that about 400 students converged on Aurora's municipal center. The court building, city hall and library were temporarily locked down during the protest. Video shows the students' arrival:
Aurora police said via Twitter that at Smoky Hill, Rangeview, Overland, Gateway, Hinkley and Aurora Central high schools were part of the walkout.
Here's a list of the Denver schools involved:
- Bruce Randolph High School
- Career Education Middle College of Denver
- Cesar Chavez Academy
- Cole High School
- Collegiate Prep Academy
- Farrell B. Howell K-8
- Florida Pitt Waller K-8
- Greenwood Elementary School
- John F. Kennedy High School
- High Tech Early College
- North High School
- Strive Prep, North
- Strive Prep, Sunnyside
- Strive Prep, Montbello
- Strive Prep, Green Valley Ranch
- West High School
District officials prefer that students are in school, said Aurora Public Schools spokeswoman Georgia Duran, but she added that walkouts can turn into a positive learning experience.
“Once students return to school, I’m confident that our teachers and our school leaders will continue the conversation in classes because these are very important civic issues,” Duran said.
Aurora police said protesters were peaceful. A YouTube video shows Overland High School students chanting "hands up, don't shoot," in reference to the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
The Aurora Sentinel spoke with students at the scene:
Among the roughly 200 Rangeview students marching from the school to city hall were 16-year-old juniors James Falope and Teron Blanton. Both said they opted to walk out of school because they were upset that the officers who killed New York man Eric Garner weren’t indicted.
Falope said that in the St. Louis Mike Brown case, he saw some justification for the police action considering Brown punched officer Darren Wilson before being shot. But in Garner’s death, the teens said it seemed completely unnecessary.
“He really didn’t do anything,” Falop said.
The protests follow two days of student walkouts in Denver earlier this week. On Wednesday, East High School student marched to the state Capitol down Colfax Avenue; on Thursday, more schools across the city demonstrated.
In response, Denver police and school officials said at a press conference Thursday that they were organizing a series of community forums to bring the discussion off the streets.
CPR's Jenny Brundin contributed to this report.