You might have noticed in the last two snippets that the actor wasn't the only thing that carried through. Let's look at that last snippet again:
"But people weren't rushing to their next class, or playing around, or spinning the locks on their lockers."
All the verbs, 'rushing', 'playing' and 'spinning', are in what's known as the 'continuous tense', which you usually make using the verb 'to be' + the main verb in its '-ing' form ("were rushing", "were playing", "were spinning"). But in this snippet, the tense helper, 'were', and the negative, 'n't', only appear in the first clause. It's carried over in the following parts, just like the actor ('people').
This is also true for other types of verb helpers, like modal verbs ('can', 'could', 'will', 'would', and so on):
"People could rush to their next class, or play around, or spin the locks on their lockers."
There is more about verb helpers (like tense helpers and modal verbs in the Verb groups lesson from the word groups course.