Wednesday, August 5, 2020
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Student walkouts join Trump protests

Some actual student walkouts occurred across America today in protest of the historic inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.

Video posted on Twitter showed about 200 students and others participating in a protest rally on the campus of the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Referring to Mr Trump during the campaign, Chicagoist Magazine quoted one student participant as saying, “His hate speech is terrifying. It incites violence everywhere and makes people think any racist bigotry or behavior of any sort is all right and puts a lot of people in danger.”

Chicagoist also reported that students at Glenbard East High School in suburban Lombard might walk out in protest shortly after the inauguration ceremony, but District 87 officials said no such walkout actually took place at the school.

The Arlington Heights Daily Herald quoted district spokeswoman Peg Mannion as saying that “students are in class, working on engaging lessons and deep learning tasks” in the school. Public schools, said Principal Shahe Bagdasarian in a written statement, “must be nonpolitical, and by their very nature, safe havens for varying viewpoints.”

Large protests in Washington, even as Mr Trump was being sworn in, resulted in about 200 arrests and damage to property.

“We’re not peaceful,” the New York Times quoted one of the masked protesters as saying, before he, like many others who clashed with the police, ran away after being approached by reporters.

As with the words from Mr Dirks in Chicago, people have come together in protest, and come to Washington and other cities, over what they perceive as hate and bigotry coming from Mr Trump, especially during a divisive campaign, and from his surrogates or supporters.

“Looking strangers in the eye and knowing that we’re together and talking with people from all over the country who have come here to express their concerns about what is going to happen in the next four years and what is already happening in our country,” the Times quoted another protester as saying. “I feel really good about that.”

Furthermore, video from WGN-TV in Chicago showed several high school students, whose school wasn’t identified, participating in the Chicago protest this afternoon.

The Chicago Maroon, which is the student newspaper at the University of Chicago, reported that several UC students would be participating in Saturday’s protests in Chicago and in Washington, where a quarter of a million people are expected.

The Women’s March on Washington, according to its website, aims to “send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world, that women’s rights are human rights” and will bring protests in more than 600 cities around the world, including Chicago, where the Chicago Tribune estimated a gathering of 22,000. (Photos from the day, however, show that a crowd of about 250,000 had gathered in Chicago.)

Students around San Francisco, including high school students, took part in protests during the school day, NBC Bay Area News reports. A robocall to families at Oakland Tech reportedly advised parents that the student protests were occurring and were not going to be supervised. Still, parents were able to call in and excuse their students to participate.

“We at Oakland Tech truly respect our students’ right to civic engagement, but staff or administration will not participate in they walk out,” the message said. “Please encourage students to stay at school to keep them safe.”

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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