Hundreds of students walked out of Highland Park High School in St. Paul on Monday over what they allege to be a dismissive attitude by school and district administrators toward issues of sexual harassment and violence.
Students should "be heard and feel safe in school," organizers said in announcing the walkout, not "uncomfortable and sexualized."
The walkout and march came a week after a petition surfaced that alleged in part that a Highland Park teacher had "targeted students" — actions described in later Instagram posts as harassing behavior.
On Monday, students also spoke of assaults committed by other students.
The school district said in a statement that it "takes any and all reports of sexual assault, sexual violence and other harassment and offensive behaviors very seriously," and that when reported, "they are fully investigated."
People also were advised to report allegations and concerns as soon as possible "to ensure a thorough and timely investigation and response," the district said.
At the event, many students wore light blue in a show of solidarity and held signs, too, one of which read, "Protect Our Students." For those who had been harmed, whether they reported an incident or not, the message was clear: They should be kind to themselves and know others were in their corner.