FOREST GROVE, Ore. -- A student responsible for hanging a "Build A Wall" banner at Forest Grove High School has apologized, according to The Oregonian.
The apology comes in a letter that was posted on a public blog "on behalf of a Forest Grove family."
"I don't actually believe that a wall needs to be built along our border," the student says in the letter. "I wanted to do something proactive to protest what I see as restrictions on freedom of speech."
The student, who is not identified, later says, "I now understand that I chose a really bad place and way of expressing my belief on free speech."
The banner sparked a walkout by hundreds of students throughout various Washington County schools.
The walkout began shortly before 10 a.m. at Forest Grove High School Thursday. Students were chanting "si se puede," meaning "yes we can" in Spanish.
Students chanting "Yes we can" in Spanish pic.twitter.com/aEP0z3dzxn— Christine Pitawanich (@CPitawanichKGW) May 19, 2016
As the protest at Forest Grove gained more attention, students at other schools also walked out in support of the protest.
The protest also gained steam on social media with people using the hashtag #StandupFG, while others rushed to defend the sign's message. Comedian George Lopez even took note of the banner on Twitter, and called out Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for "destroying young people's minds."
Some said the sign was offensive to Latino students. They have called on Forest Grove High School to come up with a plan of action to deal with the incident, and what they describe as an ongoing divide along ethnic lines.
"A lot of people would say this is first amendment freedom of speech, but there’s a big difference between spreading awareness and just being hateful," said Hugo Salmeron, Student Body President at Forest Grove High School.
The district said the banner was taken down as soon as school leaders learned of it, and that multiple students believed to be responsible for the banner are facing unspecified disciplinary consequences.
"It’s just intolerable. I think it makes people feel unsafe which is why we dealt with it immediately," said District Superintendent Yvonne Curtis.
Curtis said students who walked out in protest at Forest Grove High School would not be disciplined as long as they stayed on campus, but at least 200 student left campus anyway, to make their point.