Visalia students, community lock hands to keep Black Lives Matters signs from being moved

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Visalia Unified School District alumni are banding together to influence change.

Earlier this week, a letter was sent to the superintendent, urging more inclusivity with the impending removal of Black Lives Matter signs from a Visalia school.

The letter asked for the removal of school resource officers, bias training, more diversity, and more mental health professionals along with the banning of Confederate flags and their imagery on campuses.

Nearly 200 graduates signed the petition prompted by the school board's decision to move the BLM signs to a new location.

RELATED: Visalia Unified wants Black Lives Matter signs removed from high school fence

Instead of being posted at the El Diamante High School fence off Akers, the school board instructed they be posted in the parking lot at the College of Sequoias campus.

"There are so many drivers that pass by there and it is so important for them to look at these signs, understand what is going on that we can't just ignore what is going on," says Karla Valdepena, an El Diamante alumni.

VUSD superintendent Tamara Ravalin says the move is a matter of safety after multiple altercations at the site.

RELATED: COS designates free-speech area for Visalia students to hang Black Lives Matter signs

But that's what those with the movement say is the problem.

The signs were supposed to be taken down Friday, but students and community members locked hands in front of the fence to prevent it from happening.

Ravlin says many of the demands in the letter were discussed in a meeting with student leaders already.

She assures student voices are being heard.

Meanwhile, the group behind the letter plans on calling those living within the district to get their thoughts on resource officers and will present their findings to the school board.
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