Several hundred South Mecklenburg High School students defied school faculty by walking out of class Friday morning, chanting and waving Mexican national flags and at times causing chaos according to students on social media.
The Charlotte Observer reported students who stayed in class were subsequently placed on lockdown as school officers attempted to get a handle on the demonstration, and CMPD was called in to assist. Around 1 p.m., the school principal, Maureen Furr, made the decision to dismiss students early, telling parents in an email that while no violence had been reported, she was sending students home as "a precautionary measure."
Gletzy Alas, a junior, helped organize the walkout at South Meck. She told WFAE it was partly directed at the school's faculty and administration.
"I just try to get my message across so it could touch people's heart, inspire maybe the teachers to listen to us and hear where we come from," she said, "A lot of teachers don't even understand us when we're depressed or sad or when we don't come to school because we're scared ICE is going to come up and take us."
Alas, whose parents are from Honduras, said she was encouraged when CMS said this week that ICE would not arrest students at school. For that reason, she believed her school was a good place to demonstrate. She said some students got out of hand, however.
Walkouts were also reported Friday at at least three other CMS schools: Olympic High, Garinger High, and Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, where students marched on school grounds displaying a Mexican national flag, according to the Spanish-language newspaper Que Pasa Mi Gente. Police officers and school staff watched the march at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle, but did not interfere.
The walkouts followed massive demonstrations in uptown Charlotte Thursday, where an estimated 7,000-8,000 people joined a rally and march in opposition to a string of recent ICE arrests around the country, and recent executive orders issued by President Donald Trump.
Two Earthquakes Reported In NC This Week
In Chester County, SC, the U.S. Geological Survey says a 1.7 magnitude earthquake struck the town of Great Falls around 2 a.m. Thursday. Officials say that's on the lower side of the scale, and most people likely did not feel the shaking.
Another earthquake was recorded Wednesday night in the western North Carolina mountains. That 2.1 magnitude tremor rumbled just north of Bryson City.
NC Superintendent Tours Charlotte Area Schools Friday
North Carolina State Superintendent Mark Johnson spent Friday touring CMS schools as part of his statewide "listening tour." Earlier in the morning, Johnson was accompanied by CMS Superintendent Ann Clark at Ridge Road Middle School, where the two honored bus drivers and transportation staff.
Johnson was scheduled to visit West Charlotte High School around 3 p.m.