Two hundred fifty students streamed out of the Senior and Junior Entrances during fourth hour, chanting “Black Lives Matter!” as they congregated in the middle of Selma Avenue, raising their posters high above the crowd.
“Obviously we’re out here because of the Jason Stockley (not guilty) verdict and justice for black lives, but the only way we’re gonna make a change here at Webster High School is to speak about how we can change social injustice here at this school,” senior Danielle Daniels said in her speech.
The students marched towards the end of Selma towards Webster Groves police officers standing on the other side of the gate, shouting, “No justice, no peace” and “Hands up, don’t shoot.” They knelt down on the ground with their hands up and had a moment of silence to honor all those who’d died as victims of police brutality.
After circling to school twice, the students gathered on the steps on the Senior Entrance shouting, “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”
“Please remember that the only way we’ll be heard is if we use this protest as a peaceful protest and keep it school appropriate,” Daniels said before the protest started.
According to an email sent to parents by superintendent Dr. John Simpson, students who participated in the protest were marked absent, but for senior Julia Ross, attending the protest was worth the consequence.
“We chose to accept the consequences to show what we believe in and to make a change, or at least try to,” Ross said. She carried a sign which displayed “All lives don’t matter until black ones do.”
Students passed around a clipboard where students could write down any changes they wanted at the high school.
“We’re seeing every student that protested and having a discussion with them,” assistant principal John Raimondo said. “We’re asking them to take time to write and reflect on why they were out there and what meaning it had to them.”
“Yes, I think we did [make an impact today],” freshman Adrianna Moore said. “There was a police chief, and he talked to me, so I think we changed a couple things for the whole Webster School District.”
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