High School Students Stage Walkout Over Anti-Abortion Assembly in Viral Video

Footage of a San Francisco high school protest has gone viral online after students orchestrated a walkout during an anti-abortion assembly.

Archbishop Riordan High School students reportedly staged the walkout during the anti-abortion assembly on October 22.

Clips of the student walkout were shared online by TikTok user @nolegon, who wrote: "My school tried to hold a pro-life assembly [....] so we walked out."

Footage showed students piling out of the assembly hall, followed by a screenshot of a news article discussing the event. TikTok users rushed to celebrate the movement, with some dubbing the students "legends."

"Schools shouldn't hold assemblies like that. That isn't the place," commented one user.

The video can be seen in full here.

According to San Francisco Chronicle, the assembly had featured Megan Almon, an anti-abortion speaker with the Life Training Institute. According to its website, the Life Training Institute "make pro-life apologetics presentations in Catholic and Protestant high schools, universities, and worldview conferences," in order to "equip" Christians to make a persuasive case for life.

Students at the high school began to exit the theater after five minutes, heading towards the gym so as to not break a school policy that bans them from leaving campus. Just a few dozen of the 800-strong student body remained in the assembly after the walk out.

Archbishop Riordan High School is a Catholic school. A 2020 study by Pew Research found that 56 percent of Catholics believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases, while 42 percent said it should be illegal in most or all cases.

Students spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle and explained their reasonings for the walkout, with one even claiming to have decided to leave once the speaker compared abortions stats to the number of deaths in the Holocaust. Other ideas covered reportedly included comparing abortion to infanticide.

Father Jon Bailey told the outlet that he was disappointed with the school and found the speaker's message "horrible and frankly harmful."

Archbishop Riordan High School Principal Tim Reardon defended the assembly in a statement, saying: "The assembly was an opportunity to come together in order to learn more about the dignity of human life. We recognize that members of our school community, whether they are Catholic or not, have different viewpoints on this topic. We appreciate that those with different views shared those respectfully today. We offered an alternative safe venue for students."

In an email sent out before the assembly, the school reportedly wrote: "The administration is aware that not all Riordan students are Catholic. We understand that we live in a society in which people have strong, disparate opinions about all the categories ascribed to this theme... Our speaker will be here simply to explain the Catholic position, primarily with regard to abortion. We ask that all students listen respectfully to the speaker, who is nationally recognized for her work on this subject."

Newsweek has contacted Archbishop Riordan High School and the Life Training Institute for comment.

Anti-abortion assembly walkout
Left: Stock image of "abortion" highlighted on a page. Right: Stock image of an empty assembly hall. Getty Images