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.

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.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

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
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools
Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Equity & Diversity Opinion How Teachers Can Get America's Story Right
The attack on the U.S. Capitol shows why we need more inclusive schools, writes a teacher advocate.
Scott Goldstein
3 min read
18Goldstein 1126473545
iStock/Getty
Equity & Diversity Opinion Eight Strategies for Engaging in Culturally Relevant Teaching
Mariana Souto-Manning answers questions about her book, "No More Culturally Irrelevant Teaching," in the final post of a two-part series.
9 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Equity & Diversity Opinion Author Interview: 'No More Culturally Irrelevant Teaching'
Mariana Souto-Manning discusses her book, which highlights designing spaces where BIPOC students feel, see, and experience belonging.
10 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Equity & Diversity Opinion When Social-Emotional Learning Is Misused
Your school's SEL practices could be driving inequity, warn educators Eve Colavito and Kalila Hoggard.
Eve Colavito & Kalila Hoggard
5 min read
Lonely young woman looking through concrete window at cloudy sky
E+/Getty