On Wednesday, December 7, 2016, the students of Oakland Mills High School participated in a peaceful protest in the form of a walkout. The event was scheduled to begin at 9:40am, the beginning of the third period. Hundreds of students gathered on the football field along with administrators, parents, and HCPSS Board of Education members. The crowd listened to twelve speakers of various grades and ethnicities protest racism as well as a specific Howard County policy. The focus among many students regarded HCPSS Policy 9200—created in August of 2014—which states its purpose is “to establish and communicate disciplinary procedures and guidelines to staff, students, parents, and the community.”
A change.org petition was created earlier in the week by the “HoCo Student Voice” group, and has gained almost 800 signatures. The proposal states that “in the event that a threat is implied towards HCPSS students, staff, or others within the community, those people affected have the right to know about whether or not their safety is at risk, including when and if the student in question returns to the school system.” In addition to the community’s attention, the walkout also received coverage from local news stations including WBAL and CBS Baltimore.
Many members of the Oakland Mills community have voiced their support and pride in the walkout. “[The walkout] means change,” remarked junior Ashara Wilson. “We’re all coming together and realizing that we can make a difference.” In her interview with CBS News, superintendent Renee Foose commented, “I want their voices raised so when we see hatred, we see acts of violence, we come together as a school, as a community to stop it.” The direct results of this protest are still unknown, but students of Oakland Mills High School have been assured by administration that their voices are heard.
Link to the photo slideshow: http://wp.me/p6GLpb-yV