NYC High School Students Risk Suspension and Arrests to Protest Ferguson (+Photos)
NYC High School Students Risk Suspension and Arrests to Protest Ferguson (+Photos)
High school students hold signs as they march around the streets of New York on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

High school students hold signs as they march around the streets of New York on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

High school students hold signs as they march around the streets of New York on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

High school students hold signs as they march around the streets of New York on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

A protester is arrested by the police after refusing to go back to the side walk in New York City on Dec. 1, 2014. Around 150 High School students marched around the city in protest of the recent police shootings of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

A protester is arrested by the police after refusing to go back to the side walk in New York City on Dec. 1, 2014. Around 150 High School students marched around the city in protest of the recent police shootings of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Police officers watched high school students march around the streets of New York City on Dec. 1, 2014, in protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Police officers watched high school students march around the streets of New York City on Dec. 1, 2014, in protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Shana Buckstad, 17, one of the key organizers of a

Shana Buckstad, 17, one of the key organizers of a "Hands Up, Walk Out" rally at Times Square in New York City on Dec. 1, 2014. At 1:01 p.m. high school students around the nation walked out of class in protest of Michael Brown. Buckstad said she will be suspended from school for one month because of her work convincing her school's students to attend the rally. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

High school students march around the streets of New York City as police watch closely, on Dec. 1, 2014, in protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

High school students march around the streets of New York City as police watch closely, on Dec. 1, 2014, in protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

A woman holds a sign at Times Square, New York City, on Dec. 1, 2014 as she joins other high school students who walked out of class today in protest the recent police shooting of unarmed black males.(Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

A woman holds a sign at Times Square, New York City, on Dec. 1, 2014 as she joins other high school students who walked out of class today in protest the recent police shooting of unarmed black males.(Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

High school students play dead at Times Square, New York, on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson and also recent police shooting of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

High school students play dead at Times Square, New York, on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson and also recent police shooting of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

A protester uses his phone as he holds a sign in protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson and also recent police shooting of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

A protester uses his phone as he holds a sign in protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson and also recent police shooting of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

New Yorkers protest in Manhattan on Nov. 25, 2014, the day after a grand jury decision declined to indict a police officer who fatally shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. On Monday, New York City high school students walked out of their classes to protest the grand jury decision, a week after it was announced. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

New Yorkers protest in Manhattan on Nov. 25, 2014, the day after a grand jury decision declined to indict a police officer who fatally shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. On Monday, New York City high school students walked out of their classes to protest the grand jury decision, a week after it was announced. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Police officers ride on scooters to keep protesters from getting into the street in New York City on Dec. 1, 2014. Around 150 High School students walked out of their classes today in protest of the recent police shootings of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Police officers ride on scooters to keep protesters from getting into the street in New York City on Dec. 1, 2014. Around 150 High School students walked out of their classes today in protest of the recent police shootings of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Protesters hold a banner as they march around the streets of New York on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Protesters hold a banner as they march around the streets of New York on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

High school students play dead at Times Square, New York, on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson and also recent police shooting of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

High school students play dead at Times Square, New York, on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson and also recent police shooting of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

High school students hold signs as they march around the streets of New York on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

High school students hold signs as they march around the streets of New York on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

High school students hold signs as they march around the streets of New York on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

High school students hold signs as they march around the streets of New York on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Protesters holding banners stand in front of tourists as they appear on a LCD screen at Times Square, New York, on Dec. 1, 2014. Around 150 High School students walked out of their classes today in protest of the recent police shootings of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Protesters holding banners stand in front of tourists as they appear on a LCD screen at Times Square, New York, on Dec. 1, 2014. Around 150 High School students walked out of their classes today in protest of the recent police shootings of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

A man dressed as Batman watches high school students protest at Times Square about the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson, on Dec. 1, 2014. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

A man dressed as Batman watches high school students protest at Times Square about the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson, on Dec. 1, 2014. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

High school students play dead at Times Square, New York, on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson and also recent police shooting of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

High school students play dead at Times Square, New York, on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson and also recent police shooting of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

A High school student plays dead at Times Square, New York, on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson and also recent police shooting of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times) [NOTE this image has been converted to Black & White]

A High school student plays dead at Times Square, New York, on Dec. 1, 2014 in protest protest of the grand jury in Missouri’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson and also recent police shooting of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times) [NOTE this image has been converted to Black & White]

A police officer yells at a women telling her to get back on the sidewalk unless she wants to be arrested in New York City on Dec. 1, 2014. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

A police officer yells at a women telling her to get back on the sidewalk unless she wants to be arrested in New York City on Dec. 1, 2014. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Police officers ride on scooters to keep protesters from getting into the street in New York City on Dec. 1, 2014. Around 150 High School students walked out of their classes today in protest of the recent police shootings of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Police officers ride on scooters to keep protesters from getting into the street in New York City on Dec. 1, 2014. Around 150 High School students walked out of their classes today in protest of the recent police shootings of unarmed black males. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Mojique Tyler, 17, who attends Bard high school in New York City, is one of the main the organizers of the movement

Mojique Tyler, 17, who attends Bard high school in New York City, is one of the main the organizers of the movement "Hands Up Walk Out." At 1:01 p.m. high school students around the nation walked out of class in protest of the shooting of Michael Brown. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—Hundreds of high school students walked out of class on Monday around lunchtime and gathered at Union Square to march in solidarity with Ferguson walkout protests happening across the country.

Fresh-faced students from at least three boroughs screamed the chants, “Hands up, don’t shoot!” which morphed into chants of “Join us!” when they crossed P.S. 212 in Midtown, little kids peering curiously back at them.

The chants then turned into angry obscenities hurled at police when the protesters marched back to the police station in Times Square.

For the past week, just before and following the St. Louis county grand jury’s decision in Missouri not to indict officer Darren Wilson for murder in the shooting death of a teenage black man, protests have erupted in New York as well as throughout the country.

In New York, white police officers causing the deaths of unarmed black men is an issue that also hits close to home: Eric Garner from Staten Island died in July after a police officer placed him in a chokehold, and Akai Gurley was shot and killed last month in a Brooklyn stairwell by a rookie officer.

To keep the nation aware of the ongoing injustice of police brutality, the strategy is for protesters to keep coming back and refusing to go away, said Mojique Tyler, 17, one of the key protest organizers. He was notified about the planned walkouts by the Ferguson Action Team about four days earlier and started organizing the New York version immediately.

Tyler, who is a senior at Bard High School Early College in Manhattan, rallied hundreds from his school by handing out flyers, and contacted several other high schools through social media and networking with other student leaders. Overall, he was pleased with the turnout.

The New York protests have been docile compared to the escalated violence in Ferguson, although some were arrested Monday afternoon and several others on previous occasions. Police lined up and rode motorcycles to follow the protest Monday, warning people not to obstruct traffic as they headed southwest.

In defiance of the order, the crowd marched onto the road, filling up 8th Avenue to capacity, in spite of honking cars. Police then arrested at least four protesters, including a student who attends school in the Bronx.

The frequency of arrests when people lingered in the street intimidated some students as they jaywalked several blocks downtown.

About 30 students from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in Manhattan left class at roughly 1pm to join the protests. They said the principal and teachers warned them that they might get suspended for walking out of class.

Suspension?

Even so, for students, the price of walking out of school can be more than the threat of arrest. The principal and several teachers at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School refused to let students join the protest, finally declaring that anyone who left would be suspended. The faculty acted out of concern for their jobs, noted one student.

“They took down our names,” said Alex Crowe, 16, a sophomore. Security guards also watched the exits, but that didn’t stop at least 20 students from heading down to Union Square around 1 p.m.

Sule Murray, 15, said that school officials claimed the students had no parental permission when that wasn’t the case. “My mom said she was proud of me for coming here.”

Come Tuesday, the LaGuardia students plan to return to school, where they’ll figure out what happens next.

Another one of the main organizers, Shana Buckstad, 17, a senior at New York Harbor School on Governor’s Island, exchanged Facebook messages with Tyler last Monday at the Union Square pre- and post-indictment decision protest.

When she heard of the protest Tyler was planning, she convinced 167 students and four teachers from her school to attend. The consequence, however, was that the principal took her aside and said she would be suspended for a month.

“I’m taking the fall,” said Buckstad, somberly. No one else at her school would be getting punished. But she was quick to amend her statement: it was a great cause that she was willing to go to great lengths for, such as marching for miles following the grand jury decision.

Crowe shared her sentiment, in saying that fighting for racial injustice was worth the suspension.

Many of the protesters were looking for change, but not willing to settle. Fourteen-year-old Daniele Whitely, a freshman at Bard, said she would have come out to protest even if officer Wilson had been indicted.

Meanwhile, protesters also held out hope for the future: as they rallied and chanted, President Barack Obama was meeting with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and other elected officials in Washington to discuss how to mend the relationship between communities and police.

Tyler’s strategy will continue as well. The protest organizers will hold a meeting Tuesday to plan the next step. “Preferably a sit-in—those are powerful,” said Buckstad.

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