10:23 AM: About 200 students from West Seattle High School have walked out of their classes and are headed south on California SW toward The Junction.
(Added: Reader video from Molly – profane language alert)
It’s been described to us as a reaction to last night’s election results.
10:50 AM: The group has reached The Junction. A TV helicopter has picked up on this so if you are hearing/seeing a helicopter, that is what is going on.
11:15 AM: Sorry about the site slowness – this has caused a huge traffic surge.
The group rallied at the Jefferson Square corner plaza (photos above and below) and then headed back to WSHS, where we’re told they’ll be talking with principal Ruth Medsker.
What participants were telling us is, what happened last night does not represent the future that they want, the America that they believe they belong to and belong in, and they will work to embody the values they want to see represented.
Organizer Max Lemke (photo below) told his classmates that they need to be better people, so that there is hope for their future. Love will trump hate, he told them.
(added) One woman passing by, describing herself as a “proud grandma,” high-fived some of the students:
11:48 AM: At the school, the principal took the students into the theater so they would have a place to talk. She said she understood they were angry and wanted to express it. Media were not allowed in.
ADDED 5:11 PM: Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Luke Duecy says, “During today’s student protest march at WSHS, students who walked out of school were marked absent and will need to make up any work missed. No students will be disciplined. Instead, staff talked with students about their desire to express themselves and they supported students’ emotional needs. No teachers walked with students. Two vice principals did for safety and security reasons. Some parents also joined.”
While it is not directly related to the WSHS protest, we also are including a statement Seattle Public Schools has issued in the election’s aftermath:
Seattle Public Schools serves a rich and diverse school community. Our students speak 143 languages/dialects and come from 147 countries. Media coverage of the candidates’ positions on immigration, ethnicity, gender, and religion permeated our students’ lives over the last year. Even our youngest students were aware of the polarizing rhetoric. Today, we have heard directly from families who are feeling anxious and concerned.
The election outcome doesn’t change or influence the district’s direction, priorities, mission, or values. Seattle Public Schools continues to remain dedicated to providing positive school climates that promote student learning and development.
We are committed to building school communities where all students, families and staff are safe, respected and engaged. We will not tolerate bullying, intimidation or any other actions that sustain and advance prejudice and bigotry. Our commitment to the wellbeing of each and every student is stronger than ever.