By Ava Francis-Hall
Close to 150 students walked out of their sixth period classes on Monday, November 14 at 1:30 p.m., and walked through downtown Novato to peacefully protest their new president elect, Donald Trump.
“We didn’t get a say in the election, and now we are voicing,” said freshman Tati Oliver.
Protests like these have been ongoing throughout the country, and demonstrate the unease and anger felt by many high schoolers about an election that was out of their control, for the most part.
“Even though we are children, even though we are under the age to have a voice in our democracy, everybody’s voice should be heard,” said freshman Camille Rose.
Protesters gathered in front of the school as they angrily shouted chants such as “Not My President” and “Love Trumps Hate.” Some students brought signs to reinforce their message of a united rejection of Trump.
President elect Donald Trump has inarguably been a controversial figure. He has proposed unconventional policies, made offensive comments, and has created a sense of fear for many young Americans.
The safety of the students was a top priority for school staff.
“I don’t plan on doing anything other than supervising, making sure the kids stay healthy and safe. That’s our top priority on campus,” said Novato High School principal Matt Baldwin before the walkout.
Police cars blocked roads so protesters could walk across streets safely. Police on motorcycles flanked the students, occasionally yelling at the youth to “get on the sidewalk.”
The Novato High administration sent out a letter on Monday November 14th, specifying that the students who walk out would receive an unexcused absence. Administration proposed a compromise; the on-campus protest could occur at lunch with student-safety ensured by the school. Students seemed to dismiss the suggestion, as there was no protest at lunch.
“I think that [the protest at lunch] kind of defeats the whole purpose of showing, like, that we aren’t pleased by it [the election results],” said sophomore Julia Schulman.
The peaceful protesters walked through downtown Novato, passing familiar places such as the District Office, Marvin’s Breakfast Club, and City Hall (among others). Students were greeted with applause, stares, and high fives as they walked through downtown. They also received glares of disapproval from likely Trump supporters.
These flares of resentment did not deter the protesters from their main goal: to represent Novato High School students as anti-Trump.
“We can’t just sit there and let things happen when it’s our government too, and it’s our world,” Oliver added.
Protesters had walked close to four miles when they returned to Novato High School at approximately 3:30 p.m.
“I felt tired and achy but it was good to kinda just walk around town and let it be known,” said Junior Toby Felix.
Students were scattered, dehydrated, and exhausted when they finally reached the school, but there was an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and pride as they returned to Novato High the next morning.