Students plan walkout, districts are in support

A group of high school students called Minnesota Teen Activists has organized a state-wide school walkout today “to take a stand against racial injustice,” reports the Pioneer Press.

The timing of the protest is aimed around closing arguments in the Chauvin trial and the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright.

It’s not clear how many district schools are participating, St. Paul Public Schools spokesman Kevin Burns told the Pioneer Press, but the St. Paul district “supports students’ right to protest.”

Minnetonka High School Principal Jeff Erickson also voiced support of the protest, telling parents through written communication that “while this is not a school sponsored event, I do respect and honor the students’ right of expression, and I honor and acknowledge the suffering, pain and trauma many are experiencing.”

Looking to Monday, our plan is to allow students to leave class, under supervision, at 1:00 p.m., to share their message with each other. As I mentioned, similar student-led events are taking place across our neighboring schools, throughout Minnesota. Students are planning to wear shirts that are black or that have messages of solidarity as a sign of unity. Students choosing not to participate will remain in class, as normal, and under supervision. Students who are participating will be expected to be in their period 6 class by 1:55 p.m.

Peterson added that “no student should be made to feel uncomfortable if they choose to remain in class, nor should any of us make assumptions of another’s perspective based on whether they attend this event.” But according to social media posts, several parents are still concerned over what would be said or done to students who choose not to walk out, which could result in students staying home from school altogether today.

Pictures of graffiti on the school sidewalks and the school rock were shared by a Minnetonka student-led group. It is not clear whether the school administration approved the graffiti or not.

In the St. Anthony district, a letter to middle and high school parents last Thursday said parents “should notify the school if their children would be participating [in the protest] so their absences would be excused,” according to the Pioneer Press.