Post-election walk-out takes 44th Ave in protest of current political climate

By Stephi Smith, Executive Editor

About 100 MTHS students, according to Principal Greg Schwab, took to 44th Ave. W outside the school during sixth period in solidarity with a “nationwide walkout” to protest the most recent election, in which Republican candidate Donald Trump was elected president.

Schwab sent out an all-staff email before the walkout to alert staff members and ensure safety for those who would participate. He also noted that any student participating in the walkout would be marked as an unexcused absence using Skyward attendance and that “as a school and district staff, we cannot condone walkouts or other demonstrations that affect the learning environment.”

He also said that while MTHS staff cannot condone the walkout, they also know they cannot prevent it.

“I respect the students who exercised their free speech,” Schwab said.

Schwab also wrote in the email that safety is the school’s primary concern, for those “who do choose to exercise their free speech by walking out,” as well as those who face a “fear of reprisal” for those who made the choice not to participate.

The walkout began at approximately 1:30 p.m. with students gathering first outside the Main Office, then outside the front of the school near the parking lot and finally taking it to the crosswalk at 44th Ave. W.

Many students made their own signs, featuring various political messages, including “Love trumps hate,” “Students against racism, sexism, homophobia, bigotry” and “Not my president.”

The crowd gathered first on just one side of the street, then crossed. Throughout the protest, chants could be heard, such as “We reject the president-elect!”

Senior Jaeda Hawkes stood on an electrical box above the crowd to lead the chants.

“[The students are protesting right now] because this country is living in fear and living in hate and we need to change that,” she said.

As the crowd grew, staff and administration stood with the students to ensure nobody was in danger. With more students overflowing the sidewalk, many were pushed to the street, which administrators advised heavily against.

The walkout ended with students either returning to the school or leaving campus to go home.

After school, Schwab followed up with a letter posted to the MTHS website informing student’s families of the walkout.

He said that the walkout was held to demonstrate in support of an inclusive school community and that it was an expression of students’ free speech rights, which MTHS staff was “obliged to respect.”

He also noted that MTHS “continues to be a place of respect for all students and community that is united, despite the national political climate.”

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