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Wednesday, January 16 , 2019, 6:53 am | Fair 50º


Santa Barbara County Students Take to the Streets in National School Walkout

Student-led rallies and marches protest gun violence one month after Parkland, Florida school shooting


Hundreds of Santa Barbara County high school students walked out of classes Wednesday as part of the National School Walkout to protest gun violence.

The student-organized protests come one month after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were killed. 

Students at Santa Barbara High School gathered for a moment of silence inside the school’s theater after the names of the 17 Florida school shooting victims were read aloud. 

High school senior Tony Torres called on about 500 of his classmates to demand local change and offered a list of suggestions for the district’s governing board, including increased communication from administrators regarding threats to students, adequate mental health and wellness services at a proportional student to leader ratio, and an end to school resource officers on campus due to the “disproportionate impact” on students of color and students with disabilities, he said.

“All of the demands are possible, and we have to fight for them,” Torres said. “We believe these demands correlate with gun violence and school shootings.”

The group marched off campus to the County Courthouse Sunken Gardens in downtown Santa Barbara.

About 500 Dos Pueblos High students walked to Girsh Park in Goleta for a rally, and 200 San Marcos High School students left campus and marched to La Cumbre Plaza.

Santa Barbara High School students march off campus during the National School Walkout Wednesday morning. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara High School students march off campus during the National School Walkout Wednesday morning.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Chanting through megaphones and clutching signs, San Marcos High students marched from the Hollister Avenue campus to the Macy's parking lot on Upper State Street.

“We are asking and demanding for gun legislation, stricter gun laws and more protocol for the safety of schools,” San Marcos High junior Isabel Huerta, 16, told Noozhawk. “We are here because we want to be safe.”

Onlookers honked their car horns and captured pictures of the students flooding out their school to participate.

“Walkouts have been part of history for as long as we can remember, and that’s the tipping point — students are leaving their schools so they can demand an urge in a public setting to cause disruption,” Huerta said.

“We want to stand in solidarity,” she said.

Walkouts, rallies and marches were planned at schools around the country to start at 10 a.m.

A Santa Barbara Unified School District spokeswoman said Tuesday that students at most junior high and high schools planned walkout events for Wednesday. 

Righetti High School in Orcutt was locked down after rumor of a gun on campus Wednesday morning.  

In San Luis Obispo County, all Atascadero Unified School District campuses were briefly on lockdown after a student reportedly threatened a shooting at one of the schools.

Noozhawk reporter Brooke Holland reported from the scene for this story.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Dos Pueblos High School students walk down Hollister Avenue Wednesday morning on the way to a rally at Girsh Park. Click to view larger
Dos Pueblos High School students walk down Hollister Avenue Wednesday morning on the way to a rally at Girsh Park. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

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