Two Santa Barbara High School students were escorted by police from an anti-Donald Trump rally Wednesday afternoon, after confrontations erupted by the boys showing support for the President-elect.
One of the boys wore a pro-Trump t-shirt which led to profanity-laced ridicule from other students who had walked off campus at midday before marching to the Sunken Gardens at the Santa Barbara County courthouse for the rally.
Officers escorted the teens to the main police station a few blocks from the courthouse. Once there, the student wearing the Trump shirt told a reporter while he was assured by school administrators that differing points of view were acceptable, he had experienced other confrontations before today and didn’t feel safe on campus.
“I was just going to check things out and see what’s going on. And you see so much hate from the other side because of what’s happened. It’s never been this bad but sometimes they make little comments like “f- trump” but it’s never been this personal,” said Michael Seigel who is an 11th grader wearing a Donald Trump t-shirt.
His friend Caden Scheiblauer said, “I saw some of my friends out there screaming hate language at me and that was very eye opening to how strong people’s opinions are on this.”
As the nation wakes up to the news of a President-elect Donald Trump, hundreds of local high school students marched from their classrooms to protest a Trump presidency, and show solidarity with communities feeling negatively affected by Trump’s win.
The walk-out, meant to be a peaceful one, was scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. Wednesday. Santa Barbara High School, Dos Pueblos High School, and San Marcos High School, all participated in the walk-out.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, school staff, and district-level administrators are monitoring the marches to make sure every student is safe.
Santa Barbara Unified School District officials were aware of the planned walk-outs.
A mass text message was sent to all three local public high schools that read in part:
“ALL SCHOOL WALKOUT TODAY AT 12!! PARTICIPATE TO STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH ALL PEOPLE WHO WILL BE HARMED BY THE PRESIDENCY OF DONALD TRUMP. SEND TO AT LEAST 5 CLASSMATES.”
The source of of the texts is unknown at this time.
Superintendent Cary Matsuoka said, “The presidential election has generated a great deal of discussion and many of our students are concerned about the election outcome. Students organized a protest to call attention to their concerns following the results of yesterday’s election. We understand their desire to express their opinions, a foundational value of our society. School and district administrators took steps to monitor the noon protests so that our students were safe and able to express their opinions.”
School officials said they would not stop students from walking out, but they will be marked absent if they are not in class.
At the rally students using a megaphone spoke out loudly, and others chanted back, at times, using offensive language. One said, “This is just the beginning. This action doesn’t change who is President. We have to come together and support the people who are negatively affected by this Presidency. This doesn’t stop here!”
Some of the students participated in a moment of silence.
Others went to the courthouse during the march and left the area during the rally.
Other protests took place locally including at UC Santa Barbara, where there were reports of several incidents involving violence, and the need for extra law enforcement.