ROUND ROCK, Texas — More than a dozen Round Rock ISD students confronted school board members Thursday night demanding stricter COVID-19 safety protocols.
Earlier in the day dozens of students walked out of school in protest.
Eliana Smith, a senior at Cedar Ridge High School, started a petition after feeling like the district wasn't protecting its staff and students. That petition has garnered more than 1,800 signatures.
"We really do value our education. We value being safe. Like I'm taking a total of seven AP classes this year. I can't afford to miss 10 days of school because I catch COVID," Smith said.
Asmita Lehther, who's a senior at Round Rock High School, said she became involved in planning the walk out and getting students to speak at the school board meeting because she felt it was important to advocate for their safety.
"The main message being that the district has not been taking care of us. They don't understand what precautions we need or they haven't taken those advancements that we really need to be safe in an environment like this," Lehther said.
Paridhi Bhattaria, also a senior at Round Rock ISD said enough is enough. These students are demanding access to masks, COVID-19 tests and a virtual learning option.
"We felt like we were demanding these things for so long, and they were kind of reinforcing this idea that we are being protected, we are protecting you guys, but we never felt like that," Bhattaria said.
One student spoke against the idea of stricter protocols at the meeting.
"It seems ridiculous to me that we would completely alter the way that our lives are run," the student said to board members.
Those who are demanding more be done to keep them safe said they won't stop until they see change.
"The current environment that we're in is just not safe," Lehther said.
Board members listened to all students at Thursday night's meeting but didn't take any action to change COVID-19 protocols.
The students who walked out will not be punished, but they will receive unexcused absences.
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