A peaceful, if loud and boisterous, protest against the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States began at about 1:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, when a large number of Menlo-Atherton High School students – more than 1,000, an Atherton policeman said – gathered on the school campus with their signs and frustrations over Trump's positions.
The students left the campus, some marching on Middlefield Road, Oak Grove Avenue, and other streets in a wide, lengthy and apparently impromptu circuit that led back to M-A, at least for some.
A smaller group of students marched to Palo Alto, up University Avenue and then cut back toward Willow Road, according to Menlo Park Police Department spokesperson Nicole Acker.
Around 3:15 p.m., the Menlo Park Police Department sent out an advisory that 200 to 300 people were walking toward U.S. Hwy. 101.
Some students gathered in the vicinity of Hamilton Avenue and Chilco Street in eastern Menlo Park, Acker said. Soon after, a group of about 40 students were reported returning to the M-A campus along Ringwood Avenue, having crossed the foot bridge over U.S. 101.
Acker said that the police department was focused on keeping the students safe and the protest was entirely peaceful.
"The roadways are clear and everyone is safe," she said.
Helen Chafee, a student at Menlo-Atherton, said she chose to march "Because some very close friends could lose their civil liberties."
Sophomore Tinka Rayner said she was marching to support people who hate Donald Trump. "I don't stand for anything he's trying to support," she said. Asked to elaborate, she cited racism and sexism.
The Menlo Park Police Department deployed about 12 officers to cover the march, according to one officer. The Atherton Police Department also participated, he said.
This reporter encountered three sophomores lying down near the bike bridge at Alma Street between Menlo Park and Palo Alto. They had broken off from the march and were headed back in the direction of the school.
"People were upset and they wanted to say something and they did in a good way that was peaceful," said Michael Daley.
"I just don't think it was productive," said another sophomore who didn't want to give his name. They should donate to an organization that Mr. Trump "is going to de-fund," he said. "Go volunteer at Planned Parenthood, or something," he said, as they got up to leave.
A group of Palo Alto High School students are also organizing a walk-out and demontration for Tuesday afternoon in response to last week's presidential election results. Paly students will walk from campus at 2 p.m. to Lytton Plaza in downtown Palo Alto, where they will join students from Gunn High School, Castilleja School and Stanford University at 2:30 p.m. "The goal of this peace march is to spread messages of love, unity, acceptance and equality" -- it's not about the president-elect specifically, a news release states. It is also open to all, regardless of political affiliation.
Stanford University students are also organizing a "People's Walkout" and march Tuesday afternoon, emphasizing "healing, resilience, and community building," an event description reads.