Students in Stockton, California walked out of class Friday as part of an anti-gun protest, only to undermine their own message with vandalism and violence against armed police who corralled them back to class.
Students from multiple Stockton schools ditched class en masse a little after 10:30 a.m. to chant anti-gun slogans and wave signs demanding an education in a place where they “feel safe,” Fox 40 reports.
“We’re calling out the president to make changes, now or never,” Anna Hernandez, an Edison High School Student, told the news site. “Things are going to get worse. So we need to do this now, or we don’t know what could happen.”
“No more guns,” the students chanted, “no more violence.”
A short time later – violence.
“Not everything ran smoothly. At Edison, someone tried to jump the locked fence. And across the city, a cluster of patrol cars had to corral students back to class at Stagg (High School),” Fox 40’s Kay Recede reports. “Stockton police shared pictures of damaged patrol cars and they say five students were arrested for assaulting officers.”
Stockton police said many students jumped on occupied cars and threw rocks at vehicles, including police cars. Others threw trash at police.
Police also responded to students “causing a disturbance” at several malls.KCRA reports:
During one incident, an officer approached a group of students attempting to leave a school by jumping a fence. When the officer approached the students, police said they fought with the officer and took his baton.
The officer was patrolling an area of the high school while it was placed on lockdown. A person who saw the incident take place came to the officer’s aid until more officers arrived, police said.
“We do support the freedom to protest peacefully and freedom of speech,” said Stockton Police Department’s Public Information Officer Joe Silva. “While the majority of the students were peaceful today, we don’t condone the violence which was committed by a small handful of students. It’s unacceptable to batter a police officer and especially to take an officer’s baton.”
Retired school resource officer Vernel Ross-Lullin came out to the protest to support the students.
“I think if we let the kids talk and tell us what their concerns and fears are, then maybe we’ll get some place,” Ross-Lullin, a retired Stockton Police officer, told Fox 40. “I want to make sure their voices are heard and that they stay safe and don’t violate the law in the process of it.
“Because that just further victimizes them,” he said.
Images released by Stockton Police show a smashed patrol car window, and what appears to be a shoe footprint on an officer’s torso. Several other vehicles were also left with smashed windows, dents and other damage.
“Oh, no, we did not see any of that,” one student told the news site.
“We all agree to have it be a peaceful protest,” another said. “That way we could get our point across.”
“A lot of people want to say, ‘Oh what does a protest do? It doesn’t do anything,'” said Lincoln High School student Jalen Isiah Hodges. “Well, it brings awareness. A lot of people don’t take young people seriously but we’re the future.”
On Monday, Stockton Police were taking one student very seriously after officers discovered the 14-year-old boy had detailed written plans on how he planned to commit a school shooting. The Venture Academy student was arrested and booked in to San Joaquin County Juvenile Hall on charges of making terrorist threats, according to the Stockton Police Department.
“Detectives and the student’s parents were notified. A search of the student’s home was conducted and nothing illegal was located,” according to a police statement posted to Facebook.