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East Bay high school students walk out to protest Trump

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Donald J. Trump, Republican presidential candidate, reacts after speaking during a rally on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016 at the South Florida Fair & Expo Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/TNS)

Several East Bay High Schools held walkouts Wednesday in opposition of President-elect Donald Trump’s victory Tuesday night and a large protest has been scheduled for Wednesday evening in downtown Oakland.

On Wednesday afternoon, about 300 students from Richmond High School, John F. Kennedy High School and El Cerrito High School began marching toward Richmond City Hall around 1 p.m., according to Richmond police Lt. Felix Tan.

The students initially marched to City Hall, before then marching to Cutting Boulevard, near Interstate Highway 80, Tan said.

There officers watched as the protesters peacefully gathered. The protesters then headed back to City Hall, where they remained as of 2 p.m., according to Tan.

The walkouts followed three others Wednesday morning at high schools in Berkeley and Oakland.

Earlier Wednesday morning, about 1,500 Berkeley High School students staged a walkout around 8:20 a.m., according to Berkeley Unified School District spokesman Charles Burress.

The students then held a rally outside the school, before marching to the University of California at Berkeley, where a much larger protest was reportedly happening.

Some of the school’s staff accompanied the students during the march to make sure they were safe, Burress said.

“The district prefers that its students are in class and participating,” Burress said. “However, we do understand their concern and we take it very seriously when they feel passionate about political issues.”

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure that they feel safe and supported,” Burress said.

Hundreds of students from Oakland Technical High School briefly left their classes around 10 a.m. and gathered on campus to hold a rally. The rally was short-lived as students then decided to return to class and regroup around lunchtime, according to Oakland Unified School District spokeswoman Valerie Goode.

“We encourage our students to be informed critical thinkers and encourage our staff to help students share their views,” Goode said. “We want to give them the opportunity to understand and be a part of the democracy.”

Students at Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School also held a walkout Wednesday morning, according to the school.

In a letter to parents, Principal James Childs said many students “came to school this morning feeling frustrated, confused and powerless.”

The school decided to create a safe-space for students to gather at 9:30 a.m. While the school did not encourage students to walk out, the students did so anyway.

About 60 percent of the school left class and assembled in the school’s quad. By about 10:20 a.m. they returned to class, according to Childs.

A video posted on social media depicted hundreds of students at the on-campus rally, raising their fists in the air and holding a brief moment of silence.

As of about 2:30 p.m. some protesters had started gathering in Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, where a large rally was scheduled for Wednesday evening. The group, reportedly including high school students, were blocking the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway, according to police.

A larger demonstration was expected to gather there starting at around 5 p.m. More than 3,500 people had confirmed their attendance in a Facebook post Wednesday afternoon.

The downtown protest has prompted the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education to cancel a meeting that was scheduled at Oakland City Hall at 4 p.m. The cancellation is due to safety concerns, school district officials said.

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