The Chicano Latino United Voices student club, along with allies, staged a large and lively rally at Berkeley High School in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on Friday, Sept. 15.
Students assembled first in the courtyard and then formed a human chain, holding hands or linking arms completely around the 4,000-foot perimeter of the campus about 11 a.m. A number of school staff joined. Principal Erin Schweng estimated that more than two-thirds of the school’s approximately 3,100 students participated.
Chants of “No ban, no wall, education for all!” filled the air amid the whop-whop of helicopters above. Reporters and photographers from several news organizations turned out to record the event.
The demonstration was called by students to oppose the Trump administration’s announced plan to end DACA, which offered protections to undocumented young people, and the school administration worked with them to help keep students safe and minimize disruption to classes. Staff members who wished to participate were allowed to do, with enough staff remaining in classrooms to hold classes for those students who did not wish to participate.
The protest ended at the beginning of the lunch period, and students returned to classes after lunch. Those who participated were marked absent for third period.
In a message to school families, Principal Schweng wrote, “These are not easy or simple things to manage, and I speak on behalf of the entire admin team when I say that we are proud of our students’ passion and mindful of our responsibility to guide them and keep them safe.”