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West Virginia students stand in solidarity with school employees


Charleston Gazette-Mail

High school senior Zharia James wears a shirt in support of teachers as she walks outside Capital High School in Charleston. James was one of several Capital students who organized the “purple out” in more than 12 counties on Wednesday.
(Gazette-Mail photo by Craig Hudson)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A day before their teachers plan to walk out in protest against the Legislature, students at more than a dozen high schools in West Virginia showed up to class Wednesday wearing purple, in solidarity with their educators.

Students in 12 counties participated in the “purple-out” movement, which circulated around Twitter with the #SecureOurFuture hashtag.

“My teachers, they support me every day, and there’s no way I can give them advice or support like that,” said Zharia James, a senior at Capital High School who helped organize the movement and created the hashtag. “This is the least I could do, so I did it.”

Jakob Spruce, senior class president at Capital High, said he and the other organizers know of at least 18 schools that participated across West Virginia, but there could be more. The movement’s Twitter page, @SecureWVsFuture, posted an open letter from student organizers at Capital about their reasoning for the purple-out.

“The American Federation of Teachers and West Virginia [Education] Association are represented by the colors blue and red. We will be wearing purple, a mixture of these colors, [Wednesday] to symbolize our solidarity with the school employees who work every day to prepare us to become tomorrow’s citizen,” the letter reads.

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