DENVER — When a group of students from Victory Preparatory Academy in Commerce City sat for their school's pledge, administrators reportedly made the call to send all high school students home for the day.
School officials confirmed Thursday they sent parents notifications after sending home all 120 students in grades 9 through 12 for the day.
Students say they were brought to the school's auditorium after they sat through the school's daily pledge to protest what they call a lack of school spirit and a lack of opportunity. After they were brought to the auditorium, administrators sent them home.
"It was a peaceful protest," said Victor Sanchez, a student at the high school who said the students feel their voices have not been heard. "That was the point -- to be heard. We want to make a difference."
The school's pledge follows the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, which the students did stand and recite.
"It goes, 'I (state your name) accept the VPA challenge to be a noble knight," said Milton Pineda, a junior at the school, who did not stand for the pledge.
"We are only focused on our grades and testing, and we want to have experiences like other schools down the street," Pineda told Denver7's Connor Wist.
When approached by Denver7, the school's administrators declined to issue a comment. The charter school's parent company Colorado Charter School Institute — which runs 15 schools in the state — said they were investigating the situation.
One student who participated in the protest said they hoped to raise awareness that they would like additional educational and extracurricular opportunities. Pineda said the students organized the protest ahead of the school day by using social media outlets like Snapchat to communicate with one another.
Meanwhile, parents such as Mary Flores were angry about the suspensions and said they are requesting meetings with the school's director before they send their children back to the school.
"They need to feel safe, and the parents do not want the kids to go back if they don’t have that meeting," said Flores.