Today: Students stage walkout at Berkeley High

Berkeley High students are walking out in solidarity with the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Photo: Aidan Grundy-Reiner
Berkeley High students walked out of class Wednesday in solidarity with the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Photo: Aidan Grundy-Reiner

Berkeley High School students are expected to stage a “peaceful walkout” today, Dec. 10, at 2:30 p.m.

A message about the event went out over the Berkeley High email list just after 1:30 p.m.

According to the note, from Principal Kristin Glenchur, the administration is aware of the demonstration and will not allow students who walk out of class to come back to campus, or to make up work they miss.

“Their plan is to leave class immediately after fifth period and walk out to Civic Center Plaza where they have organized speakers,” she wrote. “They intend to march after school up to the Cal Campus. Given the last several nights of protests, it is possible the gathering could include a large number of non-students.”


Another group plans to meet at the Cal campus at 4 p.m. to watch a live-stream of a Michael Brown-related tribunal in Ferguson, Missouri, and then plans to march.

Berkeleyside will be at the student march, and will post updates on Twitter. View them here. (A Twitter account is not needed to view the page.) 

High school safety staff and the Berkeley Police Department are aware of the student walkout, Glenchur wrote.

The scene outside Berkeley High shortly after 2:30 p.m. today, Dec. 10. Photo: Aidan Grundy-Reiner
The scene outside Berkeley High shortly after 2:30 p.m. today, Dec. 10. Photo: Aidan Grundy-Reiner
Chalk writing outside Berkeley High as students begin to congregate for #BlackLivesMatter protest. Photo: Tracey Taylor
Chalk writing outside Berkeley High as students begin to congregate for #BlackLivesMatter protest Wednesday, Dec. 10. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said a group of about 70 students is already marching, but has been obeying traffic signals and staying on the sidewalk. Some are carrying signs and chanting, and the group has been peaceful, she said.

At this time, no road closures are in effect, as the students are just planning, initially, to cross into Civic Center Park, Coats added. But she said police know about the walkout and will bring in additional resources if needed to help control traffic.


Wrote Glenchur: “While we respect our students’ right to express themselves, we have advised the organizers that we cannot guarantee their safety when they walk off our campus and that their absence from class will be marked unexcused.”

Glenchur said the walkout might disrupt traffic on Allston Way.

She said parents should communicate with their children about alternate pick-up locations on Milvia Street or Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Graffiti on a wall of Berkeley High. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Berkeley High was vandalized with graffiti Sunday, but school officials say there has been no other protest-related damage. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Glenchur also wrote to parents earlier this week, on Monday, to report that “other than a small amount of graffiti on the exterior of Berkeley High, we did not experience any other damage following the events this weekend in Downtown Berkeley.”

She also wrote that the school administration has not taken a position on the Michael Brown and Eric Garner protests that have been sweeping the nation. But she said it has been, and will continue to be, a topic of discussion on campus.


“Many of our teachers are holding discussions about the recent events, and the African American Studies Department is planning a lesson in January for all students,” she wrote earlier this week. “We want to support and educate our students through this time and keep them safe while they are with us.”

See Berkeleyside’s complete coverage of the protests in Berkeley, and bookmark our Twitter and Facebook pages for breaking news updates. A story on the student march is forthcoming.

Related:
2 officials demand investigation into police tear gas use in Berkeley protest Saturday (12.10.14)
Op-ed: 5 myths about East Bay #BlackLivesMatter protests (12.10.14)
Op-ed: Talking about violence is not a distraction — The Berkeley protests for Ferguson (12.10.14)
Berkeley protesters breach freeway again (12.09.14)
Gallery: Third night of Berkeley protests, trains halted, a freeway brought to a standstill (12.09.14)
After protests, City Council meeting cancelled
(12.09.14)
City of Berkeley calls for invite-only press conference for TV news (12.09.14)
CHP arrest 150 protesters after they block I-80 freeway (12.09.14)
City told police to use restraint, avoid tear gas, on second night of protests (12.08.14)
Photo Gallery: Two nights of protests, riots in Berkeley (12.08.14)
Pastor: Brown’s death was the final straw that galvanized communities across the nation (12.08.14)
Protesters take to streets for second night: violence, vandalism of local businesses, looting (12.07.14)
Ferguson demo: injuries reported, tear gas used, property vandalized; arrests (12.06.14)

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