ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Hundreds of students in Albuquerque walked out of school for the second day in a row to protest a controversial new test.
About 200 students protesting the PARCC exam walked westbound on Arenal from Rio Grande High School towards Coors Boulevard. The group planned to walk northbound on Coors to meet up with students from West Mesa High School. Rio Grande students said that students from Atrisco Heritage Academy and South Valley Academy were also marching in the group.
Albuquerque Public Schools board member Steven Michael Quezada spoke to student protesters after they arrived at West Mesa.
Quezada told students he shares their frustration over the PARCC exam, but leaving school was neither safe nor smart.
“I basically told them that they had the right to protest. But I can’t condone you leaving campus or storming a school,” Quezada said.
Quezada also told students if someone was injured on a trek to another school “that’s the news story and it’s not about your fight.”
APS posted new penalties for student protesters on its website shortly after 2 p.m.
“We respect the rights of students to voice their opinions, but we will not tolerate protests that interfere with the educational rights of others, become disruptive or thrust students into danger,” the statement reads.
The statement lists the following penalties:
— Students who choose to leave their campuses will be marked unexcused and not be allowed back on campus for the day.
— Students will be given a zero for the entire day of testing and/or missed school assignments.
— Students who decide to leave their assigned campuses and go to other schools can be charged with criminal trespassing and/or face possible suspension.
Isaiah Meza, a junior at Rio Grande High School, said that students from other schools came to Rio Grande to protest, and administrators put the school on lockdown. Some students in the school were able to run out the doors to join the protest.
Some students carried signs as they marched. One read, “Stop the PARCC.”
Two students had “No to PARCC” written on their bare chests.
“We don’t need any more testing,” Meza said as he marched up Coors NW. “We want our voices to be heard.”
When asked whether the protests would last multiple days, Rio Grande 10th grader Justina Silva said,”It wouldn’t be effective if it was just one day.”
After the students arrived at West Mesa High School, about 200 gathered on the football field.
Read more about the test and the protests: PARCC protests hit APS
— This is a developing story. Additional information will be added as it becomes available.