(KPIX 5) — Schools in the Bay Area are wrestling with calls to cancel class in protest, on Inauguration Day.
Some educators, activists and parents say they want to send a message to President-elect Donald Trump.
Inauguration Day is usually a moment to celebrate the peaceful transfer of power in this grand American experiment. But it doesn’t sound like there’s going to be much peace on Friday.
Late this afternoon, on the steps of Oakland City Hall, a small group of teachers, students and political activists put out a call for school districts, colleges and universities to close on Friday to protest Trump’s swearing-in.
“Donald Trump is not a legitimate president…,” said, Yvette Felarca with the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.
Felarca said the call for the closure of schools is “…to make sure that the whole community can come together and act on the day that the worst president in modern history is about to be sworn in.”
Trump did win the election according to the rules in place, but those who gathered at Oakland City Hall question the legitimacy of an Electoral College system that awarded the Presidency to a candidate who got nearly 3 million fewer votes than his opponent.
Tania Kappner with Equal Opportunity Now Teachers Caucus said, “We need a nation that is truly free…that means we need to have the people voting in the streets with a movement for equality to get Trump out now.”
The Oakland Unified School District says they support the First Amendment rights of students and teachers but classes will be held as normal, including final exams at some campuses. They say skipping school to protest will be considered an unexcused absence.
John Sasaki, the communications director for the Oakland Unified School District said, “We plan to have all our students in class and we need our teachers there as well to teach them, to help them learn, to grow into the people they’re going to be, the leaders they are going to be in the future. Our country needs this right now.”
But organizers say they have no intention of conducting business as usual on Friday.
Both Oakland and Berkeley schools say classes will go on as normal. But they also plan to allow students to express their political beliefs with various on-campus activities and rallies.
A group of activists are also calling for the closure of UC Berkeley on Inauguration Day.
They want all classes canceled on campus and are urging all Bay Area school districts to shut down on Friday.
“We have to shut down the cities and our school districts to make clear there is no business as usual, ICE is not welcome in our cities,” said Ronald Cruz, an organizer with the group By Any Means Necessary.
The group was busy holding up signs and handing out fliers on campus Tuesday afternoon, but University of California officials did not respond to KPIX 5’s inquiry into whether the university would be closed for Inauguration Day.