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Student says he was forced to participate in school walkout

Posted at 10:48 AM, Mar 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-15 10:48:40-04

WHEATLAND, CA (KTXL/CNN) - A teen said he was not given the choice to participate in the National School Walkout movement.

"I was kind of forced to go out," Colby Prince said.

Colby said that's how he felt in his integrated math class at Wheatland Union High School. He heard his teacher, Angela Harris, deny another student of what he wanted - to opt out of the school's observance of the nationwide protest.

He said there was confusion over what the focus was in Wheatland.

"I was stuck between wanting to honor the kids and not wanting to protest gun rights because, you know, (I'm) pro-gun,' Colby said.

Administrators Lynn Tafoya and Cy Olsen said student leadership hadn't expressed any desire to be part of the walkout until Wednesday morning, and in trying to accommodate them, 17 chairs were moved to the quad for 17 minutes of silence to remember the dead.

Colby's sister Bailey said her class on the same campus was given the choice to go or not, accounting for the 150 kids who went to the quad versus the 600 others who didn't go.

"It made me mad," said Liz Parish, the kids' mother.

She said she didn't hear anything about a walkout until she saw other parents complaining on Plumas Lake chatter about their teens being forced to go outside. Tafoya and Olsen said all students know if they ever feel uncomfortable with something they can come to the office, and no one came Wednesday.

Parish said she knows the students are told that, but she worried when it's exercised it doesn't seem like it's heard.

"I really felt like if I went to the office they would have told me to go back out there," Colby said.

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