In recent weeks, students from Atascadero High School have anonymously shared stories of harassment and discrimination at the school through Instagram posts. On Friday, some students took action in response to these stories.
Students marched to Sunken Gardens in response to recent student confessions involving sexual harassment, discrimination, assault, and homophobia.
Elle Jacobs is a parent of an Atascadero student and helped the student body in organizing this support walk.
“I’m so incredibly proud of these kids," Jacobs said. "They automatically saw an injustice and banded together. I’ve been along with the ride kind of steering and guiding here and there but this is 100 percent these kids."
For many students, it was a chance to finally be heard.
“Sometimes I have to speak out for my other friends against their own abusers and people that just won’t stop bothering them and I’d be happy to do it even more. That’s why I came out here to lead with everyone and speak out with them," said student Johnny Reyes.
According to Atascadero High School parents and students, these issues are an ongoing problem at the school.
“This is a system that has been this way for years. We are finding through alumni that this is something that has run deep in the veins of this school, long before our kids were here," Jacobs said.
Supporters marched to show solidarity but also to demand action from the school.
“They tell us there’s a problem and that they’re going to fix it and that’s it," Jacobs said. "There’s no recourse. This is what we’re doing, this is how we got to this, this is how we found it.”
The Atascadero Unified School District says it is committed to providing a safe, supportive school campus.
In a statement to KSBY, district officials said, “We encourage our students, parents, and staff to report these types of concerns immediately to school site administration and local law enforcement. These agencies can activate an immediate and thorough investigation resulting in appropriate actions and support.”
The Atascadero Unified School District also says it has a wellness center on the Atascadero High School campus to support all of its students and families.