Hundreds of students holding signs and wearing green walked out of class Thursday in protest of the Supreme Court’s leaked draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Mountain View High junior and organizer Kris Koh said he worked with several other students to plan walkouts at Mountain View, Los Altos and Gunn high schools.
“The Supreme Court draft, it’s terrifying, and it means so much more than just ending abortion,” Koh said. “And there’s so much danger coming up from this that people don’t recognize.”
“If abortion is banned, abortion doesn’t stop: It’s just safe abortion that stops,” Mountain View junior and organizer Lena Wessel said.
The walkout began approximately 20 minutes before the end of third period and extended into lunch; students gave speeches, marched around the school and chanted.
“I wasn’t really worried about admin; I didn’t really care about what they had to say,” Koh said. “I feel like knowing the people at my school, that kinda made me unsure of how many people were gonna come out. I feel like kids didn’t really expect this [walkout] to happen.”
The group only began planning the walkouts on Saturday, which Koh said added to his concern over turnout.
But ultimately Koh’s worries didn’t hold: The protest was one of the largest at Mountain View High in recent years, according to history teacher Dr. Julie Yick. The school’s last major protest was in 2018 after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, Yick said.
“[I was] incredibly surprised [by the turnout],” Koh said. “Especially during the walkout. I know some people were here, like 10 minutes, whatever. But I was truly shocked.”
Koh approximated that anywhere from 200 to 300 students showed up. Los Altos High’s protest drew a smaller crowd — but students still garnered attention by marching to Downtown Los Altos. A similar walkout at Gunn High drew a crowd of under 10.
“My half sister was in Texas and she can’t get an abortion and it’s very stressful so I’m willing to go pretty far on it [protecting abortion rights],” Los Altos sophomore Malia Keating said.
Koh said that even just participating in walkouts is a step in the right direction.
“We need to raise hell when it comes to abortions rights, so organizing rallies … and protests [are important], and even [showing support] in smaller ways: people can donate and push education,” Koh said.
Aanya Mathias and Grace Gao contributed to the reporting in this story.