[Updated] LITTLETON — Stretching on for a fourth school day, students from some of Jefferson County’s largest high schools gathered at a busy intersection here to echo concerns about a proposed curriculum committee they believe could lead to censorship and show solidarity with their teachers.
The rally appeared to be the largest thus far. More than half of the 1,900 students at Chatfield High School, coupled with hundreds of students from Dakota Ridge walked, ran, and drove up and down a stretch of Simms Street shortly after classes were supposed to start at the two schools.
According to the Denver Post, students at Bear Creek High School also walked out this morning. Chalkbeat also confirmed students at Alameda International High School walked out after meeting with Jeffco’s Superintendent Dan McMinimee.
Students, as they returned to school, told Chalkbeat McMinimee wasn’t answering their questions.
“He didn’t listen to what we had to say,” said Regina Rios, a sophomore at Alameda High.
McMinimee told 7News later he wasn’t dodging questions — he just doesn’t have the answers yet.
“I do understand there was some frustration from some of the kids around feeling like I was trying to not answer their questions, but that’s because we’re not there in the process yet — haven’t had the discussion about how this committee might affect AP US History,” McMinimee told 7NEWS after the meeting. “The discussion [among Board members] was about the formation of the committee.”
Including Alameda, students at 13 of the district’s 19 high schools have walked out.
“I’m just so proud of them, the students, the teachers, the parents, for standing up,” said Cindy Heyerdahl, a Jefferson County resident who sent three students to the locals schools. Heyerdahl held back tears as she watched the students chat from a near by gas station.
But not all are impressed with the student-organized action.
“If I was a student, I’d want a day off, too,” said another gentleman at the gas station. “I think that’s why most are out here.”
Unlike earlier protests, the Littleton students, boisterous and sweaty, were under supervision by school administrators, coaches, and teachers. Some of the district’s highest ranking central administrators were also on hand with sheriffs.
The ongoing protests, which are likely to continue through the week, have drawn the attention of the national media and scrutiny of social media. A playful but critical thread of comments, marked by the hashtag “#jeffcoschoolboardhistory” was trending on the social media service Twitter last night.