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
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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.

Related Tags:

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.

Events

School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Equity & Diversity Wisconsin District Bans Pride Flags From Classrooms, Pronouns in Emails
The superintendent said the decision, which is facing pushback, was reaffirming a policy that was already in place.
2 min read
Flags are displayed as the Newberg Education Association gathers with community members ahead of the Newberg School Board vote on whether to ban Black Lives Matter and Pride flags at the school, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Newberg, Ore.
Flags are displayed at a community gathering in Newberg, Ore.<br/>
Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP
Equity & Diversity Two Okla. Districts Get Downgraded Accreditations for Violating State's Anti-CRT Law
The Tulsa and Mustang public school systems are the first to feel the sting of a state law that restricts discussion of race and racism in schools.
8 min read
Superintendent Deborah Gist speaks during a Tulsa Public Schools board meeting in Tulsa, Okla. on March 5, 2018.
Superintendent Deborah Gist speaks during a Tulsa Public Schools board meeting in Tulsa, Okla., in March 2018.<br/>
Joey Johnson/Tulsa World via AP
Equity & Diversity Florida to Schools: Don't Follow Federal LGBTQ Protections
Florida advised school districts to ignore protections for LGBTQ students the Biden administration is trying to implement.
1 min read
Participants with the Alliance for GLBTQ Youth march at the annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade in Miami Beach, Fla.
Participants with the Alliance for GLBTQ Youth march at the annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade in Miami Beach, Fla.
Lynne Sladky/AP
Equity & Diversity The Case of the Missing Data on AP Students
The College Board raised eyebrows by removing public racial and ethnic data on AP students. It will restore the data this fall.
5 min read
Image of data and demographics.
melitas/iStock/Getty