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

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Tensions in the South Valley have reached a boiling point after local high school students hung up signs in support of the Black Lives Matter movement on the fence of El Diamante High School.

Now, the district is saying no more - after several safety concerns.

Visalia resident Robert Ginsberg recorded a video on Sunday night as a man tried to take down the signs as his family watched, and his efforts led to an argument with others defending the signs.

"Basically, he's teaching his kids his intolerance and I just don't understand how, you know, if you disagree with a message, you know, this is the most peaceful way you can demonstrate," says Ginsberg.

Since May 25, high school students within the Visalia Unified School District have turned their anger into activism through handwritten signs covering a city block stretch of chain-link fence along the perimeter of the El Diamante High School.

But increased tensions between the community and student demonstrations prompted the district to send a letter asking for the removal of all signs from the school's fence by July 3, citing safety issues.

RELATED: Videos show group of women taking down Black Lives Matter signs in Visalia

On Monday, students began taking them down.

"These signs have been torn down time and time again and we come out here all hours of the night and we put them back up and we have people standing watch protecting these signs," says Odessa Marcos, a junior.

The district sees the removal as an opportunity.

"...an opportunity to create spaces for our students to make their voices heard and do it in such a way that is not causing a disruption or conflict in our community," says Visalia Unified School District administrator Brandon Gridiron.

The Visalia Unified School District is planning to hold a student forum. The location and the time have not been confirmed yet, but they are deciding in that forum whether to display these signs somewhere on campus where they can no longer be tampered with and safety concerns for students will no longer be an issue.
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