On Friday morning "January 31, 2003," in Santa Cruz, more than two hundred Aptos High School students marched on the freedom Boulevard to protest feeling like "Caged animals," forced to eat bad cafeteria food on a closed campus.
The students were complaining that their closed campus is not good for them because they have to stay at school at lunchtime to eat unhealthy food inside the campus. Kaitlin Hebard, 15, who is one students at Aptos said, "We feel like we are left out, and they don't trust us. How come the kids at Watsonville can go and get a hot dog and come back?".
Aptos has always been a closed campus for liability reasons, relating to the school's isolation, administrators said.
The students" excuse for the protest was that they didn't want to eat pizza, chips and doughnuts. They felt the school food is unhealthy. Also they wanted to be trusted, yet when they protested, some students ran in front of traffic, and others barbecued on the sidewalk, with sizzling beef patties from Costco. It was obvious that students used the protest as an excuse to enjoy a ditch-day in the sun.
There were about thirty deputies at the scene. By 11:30am, they diminished protest. They were some arrests and the school administration said the students, who are arrested face suspension or possible detention, but the school administration would discuss the concerns with student leaders.
Assistant Principal Andrew Goldenkranz said he respected the fact that students were upset, but that the protest struck him as unfocused compared to Vietnam protests in his youth.
This was the biggest walkout at Aptos High since November 1994 when two hundred students left class to protest proposition 187, the state initiative blocking most social services to illegal immigrants. .
The proposition 187 was challenged in court. In the previous protest, three students were arrested, and police said the initially peaceful assembly was darkened by gang brawls.