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Students at Boulder High School observe a moment of silence during a walkout to show support for victims of sexual violence on May 13, 2021. (Mitchell Byars, Daily Camera)
Students at Boulder High School observe a moment of silence during a walkout to show support for victims of sexual violence on May 13, 2021. (Mitchell Byars, Daily Camera)
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Boulder High School students walked out of class Thursday morning in support of survivors of sexual violence.

At 9:07 a.m., in honor of the 97% of women who say they have experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault, students left the classroom and gathered on a nearby soccer field to listen to speakers.

“We see you, we hear you, we believe you and we stand by you,” said Caroline Harris, a prevention education specialist at Boulder County’s Moving to End Sexual Assault.

Harris urged the students to help “shift our cultural norms” by having discussions about consent and boundaries.

Following the speakers, the students observed two minutes of silence for survivors before the walkout ended.

Maya Roberts, a senior and the student body president at Boulder High, said the event was about showing support for those who have been victims of sexual harassment or violence.

“I just hope it showed people, especially the ones in our community, that there are people who care a lot about them, and they have the support they need right here,” Roberts said.

The walkout at Boulder High follows a similar walkout at month at Fairview High School, also in Boulder.

Roberts said Boulder High students were already talking to BVSD Survivors, but seeing Fairview students walkout inspired them to do something similar.

Roberts also thanked staff at the school for supporting the students and helping them put together the walkout.

Boulder Valley spokesman Randy Barber said the school district supports its students “having a voice.”

“That’s part of what the school district is here to do, to help to provide students opportunities to be good citizens, so we’re proud of that,” Barber said.

Following the Fairview walkout, Boulder Valley created a new Title IX Advisory Council to better address issues surrounding sexual violence.

“We appreciate that this is a very important issue to us as a school district, and some of the comments that were made during the event signify that it really takes a partnership between students and the school district to address the concerns that have come up with sexual violence,” Barber said. “We will continue to work hard toward addressing concerns that students and the community have.”

Just as with Fairview, Boulder High was subject to some vandalism related to the walkout, with someone painting “Survivors fight back” on a container behind the soccer field.

Roberts condemned the vandalism, as did Barber.

“That unfortunately is not reflective of the work (the students) are doing, so we are disheartened by that,” Barber said.

But overall, students and staff agreed the walkout helped to show how committed everyone in the school community is to addressing sexual violence and supporting victims.

“We just wanted to show everyone that there are people standing with them,” Roberts said.

But Roberts said the effort can’t stop with the Thursday’s walkout.

“We’re hoping to turn this into a whole movement, not just a walkout,” she said.