San Francisco High School Students Protest Trump

  (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

Thousands of students from the San Francisco Unified School District walked out of classrooms on Thursday and took to the streets to protest Tuesday's election of Donald Trump.

"Not my president, not my president," chanted a group of students walking down Grove Street away from City Hall, where students from at least eight high schools met to begin the march.

The citywide protest was organized through social networks, including Instagram and Snapchat, said Laura, a junior at Mission High School. She pulled up an Instagram app on her phone to reveal the organizing message.

"The walkout tomorrow doesn’t just apply for people [from one specific school]," an Instagram message said. "People from all different schools can come support REP YOUR ROOTS AND STAND UP!"

Jocelyn, a 17-year-old senior for Lowell High School, said she was marching to show her disagreement with the election result -- one she couldn’t express at the polls.

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"We unfortunately can't vote," she said, walking by Ferry Plaza with other students under the age of 18. "But we can stand up."

Jocelyn said she was marching to make it clear that she is "not OK with what Trump said about Mexicans, Muslims, all other people, especially the LGBTQ community."

One student who identified himself as Aaron said that while some teachers were supportive of the walkout, others disagreed. SFUSD officials said the walkout was unauthorized and parents will be notified of their child's unauthorized absence.

At one point, student protesters blocked off Market Street. They were holding Mexican flags, the LGBT rainbow flag and signs that said, "California Bleeds Blue."

The student protest in San Francisco comes on the heels of similar protests in the East Bay. Yesterday, several hundred students walked out of class at Oakland Technical High School, and about 1,500 students from Berkeley High marched to the UC Berkeley campus.  At a protest in the South Bay, a coalition of immigrant and education advocates echoed the fear that is being voiced at Bay Area protests. 

"I'm angry, sad and fearful for my community," said Eunice Hernandez, with Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose. "Our immigrant community, our Muslim neighbors and everyone Trump has attacked in this election."

David Meyer, a sociology professor at UC Irvine, told KQED he understood the anger but cautions that social change takes patience and engagement over time.

"Being effective at getting attention is different from being effective at getting policy," said Meyer about recent movements like Black Lives Matter and Occupy. 

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"Social change takes forever," Meyer said. "You win and get less than you thought you wanted. It takes reckless patience and engagement over a lot of time."

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