RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — High school students in Richmond walked out of their classrooms Monday afternoon in an effort to encourage the city to take action in their schools.
Later Monday evening, hundreds of protesters — ranging from students to concerned citizens — took to City Hall chambers to voice their demands to city council members.They want to the city fill an $18 million gap in the budget without having to close any schools.
The marathon meeting saw 75 people speak in roughly three hours.
The walkout, which began at 2 p.m., was spearheaded by students at Open High School as a show of opposition to the possible closure of several Richmond Public Schools.
They, along with others who are demanding that more money be allocated to city schools, eventually gathered inside City Hall and preached their stance to council members.
“We need better,” Open High School junior Chris Bolling told 8News. “We know that we deserve better.”
Richmond School Board members have proposed to close Armstrong High School, along with Swansboro, John B. Cary, Overby-Sheppard and Southampton elementary schools. Three specialty schools would also be consolidated into one facility under the proposal.
Prior to Monday, students posted flyers, met with school principals and spread word of the walkout online.
“The students are upset about our conditions,” said classmate Andrew Anderegg. “We’re actually paying attention to what happens to our school.”
Students hope the walk out will grab city officials’ attention and move them to find a way to fill the $18 million budget gap the district faces after city administrators denied a request for additional funding for the fiscal year starting in July.