Equity & Diversity Photos

The Role of K-12 Students in Protests Against Racism and Police Brutality

By Bridget Fetsko — June 17, 2020 1 min read

Following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, protests against police violence have taken place across the country and around the world. Students of every age have joined their communities to speak out for racial justice.

From student-organized demonstrations to graduating seniors wearing their regalia, and younger children attending with their families, these students are protesting and taking a stance against racism. Many students have turned the conversation to the implications of racism on their own education, including the presence of police in schools.

High school senior Diego Garcia speaks with attendees during a rally against the Chicago Police Department’s presence in Chicago Public Schools.
A tear runs down the cheek of MacKenzie Mitchell, one of the protest organizers among Berkner High School students, at Berkner Park on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Richardson, Texas, as protests continue after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Young demonstrators hold a sign Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Culver City, Calif. during a student-led protest over the death of George Floyd who died May 25 after he was restrained by Minneapolis police.
Shelley Davenport stands with her son Rannoch Davenport-Davis, 6, nephew Thane Davenport-Stitzer, 6, niece Constance Davenport-Stitzer, 6, and daughter Cat Davenport-Davis, 8, at a silent vigil for victims of police brutality, at East Liberty Presbyterian Church, Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Pittsburgh. “I’ve never been to a protest before in my whole life but I can’t stand it anymore. As a Christian, it’s wrong what’s happening to God’s children. I want this to be one of their first memories,” Davenport said.
Gaithersburg High School homecoming queen Makayla Robinson speaks to a group of bicyclists at the words Black Lives Matter painted in bright yellow letters on part of 16th Street renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza, a site of protests, Friday, June 12, 2020, near the White House in Washington. The protests began over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.
Jalen Shaw, a graduate of Fridley High School, visits the memorial site for George Floyd on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Minneapolis. Protests continued following the death of Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day.
Graduating seniors Shamar Poole, 17, left; Amier Hatcher, 17, center; and Fendi Garth, 18, stand with their fists raised in the air in solidarity alongside the school’s rock painted “BLM” for Black Lives Matter at Grand Blanc High School on Thursday, June 4, 2020, before their commencement ceremony in Mundy Township, Mich. The trio stood together to honor George Floyd, urge an end to racial injustices and police violence.
Blake High School student, Ayr’Reka Gilghrest, 17, in a Juneteenth-themed dress, is pictured outside city hall during a clergy-led rally in the wake of ongoing demonstrations against police brutality and in celebration of Juneteenth on Saturday, June 13, 2020 in Tampa.
Jaylen Lee, 4, rides his scooter and looks at signs hanging on a police fence at 16th and H Street, Tuesday, June 9, 2020, with his mother, near the White House in Washington, after days of protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis.
Chicago Public Schools students and supporters rally outside CPS headquarters on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, for the removal of police officers from schools.
Kayla Shannon, who graduated from Grand Blanc High School the day before, speaks to a group of people for a peaceful protest against police violence and racial injustice Friday, June 5, 2020, in Grand Blanc, Mich. Protests continued Friday across the United States and elsewhere in the wake of the death of George Floyd who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25.
Demonstrators shout slogans Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Culver City, Calif., during a student-led protest over the death of George Floyd who died May 25 after he was restrained by Minneapolis police.
Emily Croft, 17, a student at Stillwater High School, greets a participant Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Stillwater, Okla., at a rally to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. Croft organized the peaceful rally.
Skylar Williams, right, Florissant native and recent McCluer North High School grad, leads a chant with about 100 demonstrators outside the Florissant Police Department on Sunday, June 7, 2020 in Florissant, Mo. Protesters have turned their attention to the department after a new video of alleged police brutality by one of their officers emerged. The death of George Floyd at the hands of police last month in Minneapolis has sparked nationwide protest for police reform.
People rally outside Chicago Public Schools headquarters, June 9, 2020 for the removal of cops from schools.
Demonstrators observe a moment of silence Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Culver City, Calif., during a student-led protest over the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after he was restrained by Minneapolis police.

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Emma Patti Harris, Deputy Managing Editor, Visual and Immersive Experiences contributed to this article.
A version of this article first appeared in the Full Frame blog.

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