OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Parents and students protested for hours against Oakland Unified School District’s decision to close schools, Saturday morning.

Both parents and students at Parker Elementary and Middle School say the school is important for their community and want to make sure their voices are heard.

Rocquel Colbert, the school’s principal spoke in support of the protestors.

“Most of our students live in the neighborhood, they walk to school, they take short car rides to school,” said Colbert. “It’s just been a gift to serve as the principal at the school”

Colbert served as the school’s principal for four years.

Friday night the Oakland Unified School Board had an emergency meeting to possibly delay the merging or closure of 11 schools by one year.

At the end of the three-hour meeting–the school board voted 3-2-1 to stay with the original plan.

“This is devastating for us, for our community, for our students,” Colbert said.

Saturday what started as a group of just 4 and or 5 parents fighting for their school–grew to dozens of people. They were on the street outside of parker for hours, making sure their message was clear: they believe parker is a necessity.

“Parker needs to stay in the community. It does not need to be closed and that’s how most people feel in the community,” said Colbert.