Tulsa Students March For Change After Betty Shelby Verdict
TULSA, Oklahoma - Fallout following Betty Shelby’s not guilty verdict spilled out of a Tulsa charter school as students staged a walkout Friday afternoon.
Students at Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences led the event - planning started amongst some seniors in the morning, and by 2:00 p.m., close to 80 students stood up and walked out of the classroom together.
"We just started making signs. I made a Facebook event for it, and, like, it just kept going from there," Rebecca Alberty said.
Friday morning, Alberty and others felt like they needed to do something to protest Shelby's not guilty verdict - a walkout was on their minds.
"My whole group of friends, we were all really affected by it,” Shaelyn Jones said. “So, we all just decided to come together, all different friend groups, and kind of like make something work together."
Jones said the verdict didn’t shock her, "I wasn't surprised but I was hurt." She said it kept her up at night, fearing the worst.
"What if that was my brother, my uncle, or my cousin," she asked.
Together, the students marched for change - their constitutional right supported by the charter school administrators.
"We're always proud to see them caring about things and planning things, and carrying things out that they think are important," said Principal Dan Hahn.
They want a change in the justice system.
"I feel like it is meant to work for the people it is supposed to work for," Jones said.
They said just because there's a verdict doesn't mean it's just.
Alberty said, "We don't think it's right. We don't think it's right what's happening with black men and women in our community."
The young students are left knowing they're the future, hoping they can set the example for change.
"I feel like we're learning to relate to each other better, so we can make a future for everybody, not just for certain people," said Jones.
The students returned to class after their march. Some students said they hope the walkout starts a new legacy of understanding for TSAS.