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Fourth day of walkouts with massive protest near Columbine High

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While teachers and the Jefferson County school board are busy blaming each other for this week’s student walkouts and protests, the teens are happy to take credit.

“People think because we are teenagers, we don’t know things, but we are going home and looking things up,” said Savanna Barron, a senior at Lakewood High School, as she waved a sign on Kipling Street on Thursday morning. “If they don’t teach us civil disobedience, we will teach ourselves.”

By Thursday, the fourth straight day of protests, students had improved their organization, message and size, rallying a group of roughly 1,000 at a combined Columbine and Dakota Ridge high school walkout that saw kids crowd onto a pedestrian bridge over South Wadsworth Boulevard.

A movement that started with cardboard signs and random chants has moved to bullhorns and even a slogan: “It’s our history, don’t make it mystery.”

Facing criticism about skipped classes — including from passing motorists at Lakewood High who shouted at the demonstrators — some students opted to use their lunch or free periods to protest.

Others said they didn’t mind skipping class.

“It’s an unexcused absence, but I don’t care,” Tayler Lopez, a sophomore at Columbine and a protest organizer, said Thursday. “This is more important than truancy.”

 Hundreds of high schoolers across the county have hit the streets protesting a proposed curriculum committee that would call for promoting “positive aspects” of U.S. history and avoiding or condoning “civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.” They’re also upset about an evaluation-based system for awarding raises to educators.

Controversy has swirled around the Jefferson County school board after the election of a conservative majority to run the 85,000-student district. Action began last week when two schools closed because 50 teachers either called in sick or took a personal day.

The issue has become so heated that Thursday the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were investigating threats against school board members’ children. Sheriff’s officials declined to elaborate.

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Comments
  • comment avatar Tracie September 26, 2014

    I have a child in one of these high schools. It is heartbreaking to me that adults are essentially being bullies about them.

  • comment avatar Julia September 26, 2014

    My daughter organized one of the walkouts on Tuesday. She educated herself on the issues and never spoke with a teacher about their opinion of what the BOE has done and is trying to do. Anyone else here done the same?

  • comment avatar Autumn September 26, 2014

    Regardless of the stupid language used and approach by some on the board does she grasp the very real problems with the new AP history curriculum? If she were taking an truly well informed (digging deeper), non-ideological, intellectually honest look at it I cannot believe she’d still be organizing a protest or even have the time because she’d be busy gaining a true understanding and considering what is a better approach to problem solve. This is just getting swept away in sound bite politics.

  • comment avatar Julia September 26, 2014

    I appreciate your opinion but the considered change in the AP curriculum is not the only reason informed students stood outside the school Tuesday. I think there were students that simply wanted a reason to miss class, but not all the students.

  • comment avatar Mela September 26, 2014

    Kids these days are pretty creative at finding ways to skip school. I guess fake doctor’s notes have gone out of style?

  • comment avatar Jackie September 26, 2014

    You can look at it that way. Or you can look at it that these kids are getting a first class education in civil disobedience and standing up for their rights.

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