About 100 teenagers from Boston Public Schools walked out of class Monday afternoon and rallied at City Hall to protest school budget cuts and closures as well as gun homicides.
According to the organizers, the walk-out was to protest the proposed closure of West Roxbury Academy as well as the McCormick Middle School in Dorchester, which they said will disproportionately affect black and brown students. Nearly all of the students who rallied were students of color.
But the walk-out was also to protest a litany of problems that organizers said affect students, including homelessness and gentrification. The rally was organized by groups including March Forward Mass, Black Lives Matter Boston, Teen Empowerment and Stuck on Replay.
Some students said they feel unsafe in their neighborhoods or treated differently because of the color of their skin.
Students left their high schools around 12:30 p.m. and gathered at City Hall Plaza in the wet cold an hour later.
After a brief rally, with chants of “black lives matter,” they went into City Hall where they staged a “die in” in front of the offices of Mayor Martin J. Walsh. Students lay on the floor for 43 minutes, one minute to represent each of the gun homicides in Boston over the past year, according to organizers.
The die-in was also to demand the creation of a youth-led violence prevention plan, funding for year-round youth jobs, and trauma services for BPS students who witness shootings, organizers said.
According to the school department, students who skip school for the protest will be marked absent and their families notified.
“Boston Public Schools believes in the importance of student voice and advocacy. As with previously organized demonstrations, BPS discourages students from missing instructional time in the classroom,” said a statement from interim superintendent Laura Perille.