Statement on Peaceful Student Removed from Capitol

On Wednesday, April 5, 2023, a peaceful student was physically carried out by officers from the legislative viewing area of the Colorado State Capitol. The group of students, many from North High School in Denver, gathered to protest gun violence and demanded action from legislators.  

The following statement may be attributed to Deborah Richardson, ACLU of Colorado Executive Director, and Tim Macdonald, ACLU of Colorado Legal Director. 

“We are disappointed and disturbed that officers physically removed a student sitting peacefully in the legislative viewing area of the Colorado State Capitol on April 5, 2023. It is essential that we protect and respect the right of every person — especially young people — to speak out on matters of critical importance. That right is even more important when young people are engaged in speech in the very place where our laws are made. Students do not shed their constitutional right to freedom of speech or expression at the Capitol doors.  

The ACLU of Colorado hopes the recent interaction will be an opportunity for the Colorado Legislature and State Patrol to work together to identify solutions that will avoid a similar removal in the future. The State Capitol is where students may interact with our government to build a foundation for participation in a democratic society. When adults in the halls of power stifle the enthusiasm and passion of our youth, we lose out on the possibility of a better and more just future.”