Video Produced by Julian O’Donnell, Online Associate Editor
By Sam Stack, Editor-in-Chief
// A group of 70-100 Acalanes students decided to walk out in protest of the election of Donald Trump on Monday, November 14, just six days after the election. The protest, composed entirely of students, started in the front quad during brunch and ended around 11:30 am.
Students walked to the overpass overlooking Highway 24 and stayed there for just over an hour. Students displayed signs with varying slogans including, “Not My President,” “Love Trumps Hate,” and “My Body, My Choice.”
The protest came after a school week full of events that exhibited highly polarized ideologies, including a student being profiled on the basis of her race and/or religion allegedly being told to “pack her bags,” as well as several Trump-Supporters being called racists and homophobes, among other insults. Other incidents on campus involved students chanting, “Build that Wall,” thrusting “Trump for President” signs in the faces of some students, and sporting T-shirts that said, “America was never great”.
“There’s a lot of hate, and the walk-out is a good way to vent and get together with a lot of people who share the same views as you,” junior Sophia Giordano said prior to the protest. “I feel the walkout will make a lot of people more aware of how many people at this school are not for what the President-Elect has incited during his campaign.”
Student walkouts are a rare phenomenon at Acalanes, the last one taking place in the 1999-2000 school year. 800 students walked out of school after the dismissal of an admired Principal.
The Acalanes administration sent out an email on Friday, November 11 indicating their respect for students’ right to express themselves while informing readers that the walkout was not a school sponsored event and that students who participate would be dealt an unexcused absence.
In the past week, there have been open forums on campus during lunch for students to discuss the aftermath of the election as well as their feelings. The purpose of these meetings is to help students feel safe on campus, regardless of their political views.
“I totally respect and appreciate that [students] want to have a voice, and that they do have a voice, and they have a right to peacefully gather. I just would love to see some next steps and conversations around what do we do on our campus to continue to foster that climate of acceptance and respect,” Acalanes Principal Travis Bell said.
As students gathered prior to the walkout, Bell stood above the crowd with a megaphone, telling those not participating to return to class. Not all who gathered were in support of the protest.
“Everything we do at school here is for a reason, and leaving school is not needed. There’s no point in leaving school to protest for a pointless cause,” senior Chase Nemanic said. “It’s just pointless to get out of school if you have work to do.”
Students participating in the walkout, however, felt that their actions had a purpose.
“I’m personally not [walking out] because Hillary lost, and I’m not doing it because Trump won,” senior Wesley Rosemont said. “I’m doing it because I think rights are going to be violated, and I’m standing up for something bigger than a win or a loss.”