High school students walk out of class demanding improved safety measures
Hundreds of students at Coachella Valley High School walked out of class Monday morning in protest of a lack of safety measures.
"Every single day I wake up and I don't know if that's the last time I'm going to tell my mom I love her," said Abigail Alvarez Aguilar, a senior at CVHS. "Honestly, we've had so many incidents, we've had incidents with knives, we had someone that set off a firework in the bathroom," she added.
Carrying signs and chanting "our safety matters," students walked more than 3 miles from CVHS campus to the district headquarters in Thermal. They questioned the district's safety policies after a number of security breaches this year that brought weapons onto CVUSD campuses.
In November, 3,700 students were evacuated from three Thermal schools after a student was seen with a handgun and police investigated what appeared to be an explosive device, but was later determined to be a toy.
Last month, the district apologized for a lack of transparency surrounding a Jan. 20 incident at Coachella Valley High School in which a student was found with a loaded handgun in their backpack. The principal notified the school community by email that day, but did not mention a loaded weapon. Parents didn't learn about the gun until six days later.
"We made a mistake. There's no other answer to that. We should have locked the school down," said Dr. Luis Valentino, CVUSD superintendent, who told students he's working on improving safety and accepted responsibility.
A spokesperson for the district responded to the protest, saying CVUSD staff helped facilitate a safe and peaceful space for students to voice their opinions. Students also spoke out at the protest about teachers' salaries amid ongoing negotiations. The district says its proposal would give CVUSD teachers the highest compensation package in the valley if it is accepted by the union.