VIDEO: San Ramon Valley High School students walk out over free speech

(KRON) — KRON4’s Spencer Blake is reporting that 500 San Ramon Valley High School students walked out for about half an hour Friday.

This is the same school where a student was removed from–and then reinstated to–his role as junior class president for an Islamic terror-themed campaign video he posted to twitter.

Students definitely say that incident was the prime example, the final straw, if you will.

But some say that’s only part of the problem they see with discrimination as a whole within the school district.

At 1:20 p.m. Friday, right at the beginning of fifth period, hundreds of students left class.

Word had spread through social media ahead of time, so teachers and administrators knew it was going to happen.

“My teacher thought it was nice that I came in and checked that i was here for attendance. They appreciated that,” one student said.

Teachers stayed in class with students who didn’t walk out.

“I wanted to focus on my schoolwork, and also, I just didn’t really have a purpose for the cause,” another student said.

The chanting and short speeches were in response to the school district reinstating the junior class president who used an Islamic terror-themed video as a campaign eye-catcher.

The district says it was within his First Amendment rights.

Spokeswoman Liz Graswich says freedom of speech is also why Friday’s walkout was allowed to happen.

Students say a counter-protest formed during the demonstration, but everyone kept their cool.

“I think for sure it will have big impact,” one student said.

But not everybody had the most noble of intentions.

By sixth period, most everybody was back in his or her scheduled classes.

Graswich says this whole ongoing story has been a challenging issue for the district, which is trying to keep balance between tolerance and inclusion and First Amendment rights.

She says staff will be getting training on free speech rights next school year.

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