Schools become a battleground in Trump outrage
Portland students walk out of classes Monday while others call for unity.
IIn the first full day back to school after the election, hundreds of Portland Public Schools children walked out of school Monday to express frustration, outrage and fear over the election of Republican Donald Trump.
Beginning around 10 a.m., students walked out of classes from Cleveland, Wilson, Benson and Franklin high schools, Metropolitan Learning Center (K12), Hosford Middle School, Mt. Tabor Middle School, Beaumont Middle School, Irvington (K-8) School and Sunnyside Environmental K-8 School, according to reports.
Other schools chose to express their values through a Unity Week, agreed upon by student body leaders who gathered on Friday. Each day during the week has a theme safe spaces, Post-It note positivity, safety-pin and photobooth. Thursdays plan is a districtwide day of unity where people will wear black and use the hashtag #ourvoiceourfuture on social media.
We, as the future of America and as engaged members of the community, call upon our educational institutions to provide a secure and tolerant learning environment, said Lilly Sasse and Christina DePinto, Grant High School student body president and vice president, in a joint statement. In order to achieve this, we must hold ourselves and each other accountable for our actions.
As the Veterans Day holiday came to a close, several principals sent statements to their school communities regarding the election that called for school to be a safe, inclusive place.
Now more than ever, I believe we need to lean into the equity work of our school and district by dialoguing with each other and providing opportunities for students to give voice to their thoughts and feelings, wrote Pam Joyner, principal at MLC. We are in the teachable moment: the power of education, civic engagement, and to enact democracy in our personal, local, and immediate sphere.
I will ask our student leaders and their various clubs and organizations to come together, inside our building this week, to create a pledge against bigotry and hate to fix ourselves first, wrote Wilson High School principal Brian Chatard. The recent election and the struggle to determine our country's values is an opportunity to turn into the mirror and ask ourselves tough questions about the society we want for our children, the school we want for ourselves and what we are willing to do to make things better.
Over the weekend, Reed College had to clean up bigoted graffiti on the second- and third-floor bathrooms of its library. Former mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone tweeted pictures Saturday evening of the graffiti (taken by a Reed student) that had gotten nearly 3,000 retweets by press time. The black sharpie writing included numerous slurs, a swastika, and white is right, among the more publishable statements.
Reed College Dean of Institutional Diversity Mary James and VP of Student Services Mike Brody published a joint statement on the colleges blog Sunday that the sentiments were antithetical to Reeds mission and values, and will not be tolerated.
The statement added that while there have been no physical violence or in-person threats on campus, security was beefed up and was available 24-hours a day to escort students.
KATU 2 News reported Friday that a woman at Portland Community College was the subject of racial epithets and also that a Trump supporter felt vilified by an in-class discussion.
KOIN 6 News contributed to this report.