Signs to Come Down at El Diamante

Signs in front of El Diamante High School. Photo by Martin Velasco-Ramos

Editor’s note: Members of the community have started removing the signs for safe keeping and to preserve them.

Visalia Unified School District (VUSD) Superintendent Dr. Tamara Ravalin sent out an email today announcing the Black Lives Matter (BLM) signs outside of El Diamante High School will be removed by July 3rd. No new signs, posters, or personal messages will be allowed on any district property unless approval is authorized.

The decision to take down the signs was made “due to concerns for the safety and well-being” of students.” There have been multiple incidents at the site where community members have torn down the signs.

In reaction some protesters have decided to meet in front of EL Diamante tonight at 8:30 pm to make a list of demands from VUSD.

In a Twitter message it said, “Visalia unified is trying to silence students. This isn’t about safety, it’s about avoiding the real issues going on and not wanting to deal with them. TONIGHT we will be meeting at El D at 8:30 to make a list of demands we want from @VisaliaUSD.”

A forum sponsored by VUSD will be held Tuesday to create a new space for students to share their voice with the community. The time and details surrounding the forum are yet to be determined. According to staff, a public announcement will reveal that information later today or first thing in the morning.

Last week footage surfaced of female Trump supporters tearing down the signs under the cover of darkness. And more recently, a resident of the area was filmed taking down the signs shortly after the protest and march on Saturday.

BLM organizer, Topanga Jackson, has felt unsafe every time she has been by the signs.

“I’m out there not knowing who will come and yell at us and if I will not be going home for putting up signs.”

She believes the school district is probably concerned about how much media exposure the signs are getting, as well as the safety of the protesters and people in the area.

Jackson has been told by residents in the area that they also do not feel safe because they believe the protesters are violent. Recently, a full video of the altercation on Saturday was uploaded online revealing that the resident tearing down the signs was tackled by a younger man attempting to protect the BLM fence.

Other members of the BLM movement have criticized the decision to take down the signs and replace it with a forum.

“If the VUSD really cared about the student body’s voices they wouldn’t take the signs down,” Michael Sunglao, 24, explained. “Changing the setting from a public sidewalk to an indoor forum isn’t contributing to allowing their voice to be heard throughout the city.”

There has not been consensus among BLM protesters on how to respond to the district’s decision. Some believe it is best to comply with the choice to take down the signs and move to a student forum while others plan on being at the meeting in front of El Diamante tonight.

43 thoughts on “Signs to Come Down at El Diamante

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  1. Not letting students or minorities have their voices heard because of disruption, obviously the school system shows alot of them and racism

  2. Signs need to come down! There is no reason for this. They are trying to relive the past! I will be taking my kids out of this school district, for allowing this to happen. The BLM is only creating more problems. If people would obey the law, there would be no issues!

  3. I sure pray we can come to a common ground. Why can’t we have a street dedicated for a time being like Fresno and many other cities have done to show support?

  4. How can protesters claim peaceful with videos like that. That young man was trying to provoke a physical altercation and did not cease. So that is ok but tearing down signs is where we draw the line? It’s ridiculous that society is so out of whack to condone the behavior of the protester in that video while condemning the man for pulling signs down.

    • Violence is never okay nor should it ever be be condoned. Unfortunately, the man ripping down the signs in front of his own two children was teaching his children that it’s okay to be intolerant of others with a different skin color. I pray for the wellbeing of his children.

  5. You made your voices heard it’s time to now do something that will move you forward to get what you want. Yelling on a street corner or the middle of the median, won’t do that.

    “Demands” sound like your are holding the school hostage. Are you?

    Being taken seriously begins by acting seriously about what you want not making demands like a child. You do it the way adults do. Get it on a ballot, get people in your local government by voting for them and legally changing the laws

    • It’s so easy for the simple minded folks of Visalia to make assumptions when they don’t take the time or effort to listen and understand an opposing view that is different from theirs.

  6. They dont have the brains to debate anything,they are spoiled brats.We will show up to is that alright??? My brain is fully developed.How do you know thosed women we Trump supporters.Perfect example to why our schools are failing.I say Defund Public schools…

    • Again, the MAGA hat one was wearing seems indicative they are Trump supporters. No sane person would otherwise wear one. I wear mine only on Halloween.

  7. They dont have the brains to debate anything,they are spoiled brats.We will show up too is that alright??? My brain is fully developed.How do you know those women were Trump supporters.Perfect example to why our schools are failing.I say Defund Public schools…

  8. All this protesting and rioting is causing more hate. I have every nationality in my family. All lives matter. Take the signs down. If they cant address everyone then we aren’t gonna listen.

      • Betty, are you blind? The man tearing down signs has dark brown skin! He’s Hispanic! BLM’s leaders are “trained Marxists” (their own words caught on video). They are about creating chaos and racial division and destroying our country. They really don’t care about black lives, they just hate America!

  9. Most of these comments demonstrate a complete lack of empathy on the part of our community. Shouldn’t we be asking why people are hurting? Shouldn’t we come together and offer our support and understanding? If you are outright bothered by this protest you are the problem. Try turning the Fox News off and listening to your hearts.

  10. This won’t go over well with the students. VUSD just bought themselves *more* protests. “Good” job, VUSD.

  11. How about these young people go home and study an extended vocabulary and here is your first word…..RESPECT and maybe get a job. I’m sure your mommas are so proud. Such a sad state of affairs. Kudos to the adult male keeping his cool.

    • Lisa Dillon, perhaps you should study grammar, spelling, syntax, and punctuation. Let’s go ahead and break down each part of your comment. You start off with a question that transitions into a compound sentence that makes a statement at the end which can be confusing for both readers and writers. The only time you should include a question in a compound sentence is when you are combining two questions. This way, you can stop with a question mark instead of a period. An example of this would be, “How can you be hyper critical of vocabulary, and how do you have so much trouble putting coherent thoughts together?” Next, you missed a comma before “and” making this a run on sentence. Whenever you join two sentences with a coordinating conjunction, you need to replace the period at the end of the first with a comma. Also, your ellipsis (the three periods that should only be three and not five) should be replaced by a colon. An ellipsis is used to indicate the omission of words not as a long pause. “Respect” should not be in all capital letters, and the part where you wrote “and maybe get a job” is confusing to readers because it is difficult to tell whether that is a separate suggestion or if those are more words these young people should study. In the next sentence, “your” should be replaced with “their” because, from what I can gather, you are talking about the mothers of the young people. Using “your” makes it look like you are talking about the mothers of anyone reading the comment. “Such a sad state of affairs” is missing a subject and a verb. Your last sentence is missing a preposition. It should read, “Kudos to the adult male for keeping his cool.” There we have it. There was something wrong with every sentence you typed. I hope your English teachers are proud.

      • How was the adult male ” keeping his cool” by antagonizing the protestors by ripping down signs in front of his kids in broad daylight?

      • Geez Tim! Are you a wannabe English teacher or just a current frustrated English teacher? And Lisa yeah there are a lot of “mama’s” out there who are proud of their kids getting involved in the BLM movement. Do a head count of the number of BLM protesters, those shown in this latest video do not represent every BLM protester. Betty it may seem that there are “a lot of simple minded folks in Visalia” but there are also just as many who know how to think, reason,sympathize, and empathize with BLM. No need to paint everyone with the same broad brush. I personally wouldn’t use the term “simple minded” but “narrow minded” fits.

  12. A school is not a place to protest and place signs of your opinion. Do it in your own space or yard and leave the schools alone. If I put a bunch of “white lives matter” signs up there, I’m sure within seconds my signs would be taken down. A school is not the place for this.

  13. This article lost all credibility when it tried to claim the women who removed signs at night were Trump supporters with no proof. This took place in California where the majority are Democrats.

    • Except for the widely published photos, one of which clearly shows one of the women wearing a MAGA hat.

      • Obviously, the wearing of a MAGA hat as one’s attire automatically implicates a Trump supporter. Are we correct to make that stereotype and assumption Joseph? I was under the impression “MAGA” was an acronym for “Make America Great Again!” Not I support Trump. Although there is a connection between the two, one cannot truly assume to connect the two. So when I see you on Halloween flashing your MAGA hat, at least for that one night, you are a Trump supporter, Yes?

        • No. On Halloween I’ll be a scary idiot. The rest of the time I’m just a regular idiot.

    • You must not be too familiar with the San Joaquin Valley! This area is largely Trump Country. Anyone wearing a Russian Red MAGA hat IS a Trumpster.

  14. Is the irony of this video lost on anybody? A black man is tired of seeing the signs and is taking them down while a white man is physically attacking and threatening him and his family? You can’t make this stuff up.
    The behavior of the white aggressor toward this black man removing “BLM” posters makes one question the validity of how much black lives matter to the BLM “movement”. The truth is the BLM Movement/Organization is “a neo-Marxist movement with various far left objectives, including defunding the police…. dismantling capitalism and the patriarchal system, disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure, and seeking reparations from slavery to redistribute wealth……” Alexandra Phillips, Herald Sun, January 16, 2020.
    I would like to know if this aggressor will be charged with battery, assault, and terrorist threats? He most certainly should. Kudos to the man removing the signs for his calm demeanor while being threatened. I believe he, and every citizen, has the right to remove the signs – and why not? If folks are allowed to post them on property that doesn’t belong to them, why wouldn’t others be allowed to remove them?

    • The article you are referring to assumes that poor blacks don’t realize that their cause has been hijacked by neo-Marxist’s but the “average black person does. The writer referred to BLM protesters as being infiltrated by Black Panthers. Do you really believe that the majority of BLM protesters here in this area who are our friends, co-workers, mothers, fathers, students, teachers do not realize that they are being duped and hijacked by neo-Marxists? Really?

  15. The former teacher who is leading this group has a personal agenda. He feels he was fired and he wasn’t, his contract was not renewed along with ALL the other teachers approaching tenure. He is using these young adults for his vendetta against the district and it is wrong! If this was not personal he would not be verbally attacking the principal of the school. His actions are not for the better of society, but better of his standing in society.

  16. The schools belong to the kids. The students should vote everyone out of office when there old enough. There not vandalizing, in gangs doing drugs. There just standing up for there fellow citizens. I don’t Visalia has a proud history. I think it was a south sympathizer during the Civil War, they have no street named after Martin Luther King Jr or Cezar Chaves and the district has had problems the way they treated gay students. The women who took down the signs out to be in jail. I don’t like Trump but I would never take down a Trump sign or bumper sticker. You don’t do things like that!

  17. As a democrat I know they lost elections they had in the bag, Dukakis,Gore and Hillary Clinton. Its still 4 mths away but if Trump loses and in a landslide that will do more. To advance equality than any sign. history is on the students side. And, they need to defund the police not because there racist but incompetent. Maybe I’m wrong but I read in the voice 10yrs ago where Kaweah Delta had to put bullet proof glass because the gangs wanted to finish the job and 3 people were just found murdered in the Golden West parking lot. I think the district and the people of Visalia should be more mad at that than a few signs.

  18. The school and fence is government property therefore it is not allowed to have the signs up because of our first Amendment which does not allow the government to favor any side. This same Amendment is also the same one the allows people to gather peacefully and protest and speak against what they believe should be fixed or has to change. The signs have to come down. The person wearing the white t-shirt really should have charged brought against him for assaulting and threatening the person whom was following the law according to our first amendment.

  19. I’ve taught in VUSD for a lot of years……Eld ….Whitney….and Divis……and I know the decision the pull down those signs was the right one. Kids should be able to voice their opinions..but writing mace a cop….and talking about white privilege doesn’t unite…it just divides. VUSD has probably figured out that opinions must be presented on neutral grounds…otherwise all we’ll ever do is fight. As far as removing campus police or supervisors…..are you kidding me? The things I’ve seen over the years…..unexplainable… About Jeff Hohne …..I can tell you I’ve heard him talk at rallies and in classes numerous times ….addressing the issues of the importance of character and how to treat others with respect….and also talking about making a difference with kids that bully others. I’ve never questioned his character. If kids want to peacefully protest…then it needs to be done respectfully. …..and some of these signs aren’t respectful. I know most of the teachers in VUSD are good at what they do and genuinely care for the rights and we’ll being of kids….but honestly….by allowing this type of conflict in the schools…..the kids are truly the ones who will suffer. Respectfully…Brian Xavier

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