Students walk out April 29 in support of law enforcement

Students+gathered+outside+of+the+high+school+to+support+law+enforcement%2C+while+they+held+thin+blue+line+flags.+Counter-protesters+stood+across+from+them%2C+and+they+held+a+flag+along+with+cardboard+signs.+

Photo by Morgan Delaney

Students gathered outside of the high school to support law enforcement, while they held thin blue line flags. Counter-protesters stood across from them, and they held a flag along with cardboard signs.

Morgan Delaney, Online Editor

Editor’s Note:

As an Editorial Board, we struggled with how to approach this issue and the events that have transpired over the past month, especially as it relates to social justice and how it impacts our school community.

Nonetheless, we knew that these events were necessary to report, important, and emotional for everyone involved. We do not want to take sides, nor endorse one ideology over the other, but still do our best to give equal coverage.

We  do our best to report the facts and the stories, as we saw them happen.

 

Local high school students walked out of school April 29 to show support to law enforcement. Administrators granted them 20 minutes to leave class and hold a peaceful gathering, where they held thin blue line and American flags. Students were followed by peers counter-protesting.

The students involved in the walkout believe that police need to be thanked and appreciated within the community. These men and women choose to protect their fellow citizens by risking their lives everyday when they put on their uniforms.

“To me, backing the blue is personal. I have two police officers in my family and I know they have been struggling. Many of my friends have police officers in their families…they wake up every morning risking their lives for people they don’t even know. Our law enforcement officers will always be heroes in my mind,” junior Trent Tillett said.

The meaning behind the walkout was to support our brave men and women of law enforcement. We were aiming for the walkout to be seen by police officers in our area so they could see student support and possibly brighten their day.”

— Trent Tillet

The students holding the walkout remained peaceful and stayed true to what the walkout was meant for. They believe law enforcement should be thanked for risking their lives every day and protecting innocent lives.

“The meaning behind the walkout was to support our brave men and women of law enforcement,” Tillet explained.

A few minutes into the walkout, other students counter-protested by disrupting the Back the Blue walkout. Students were caught off guard, and they felt these actions were not fair or respectful.

“It really hurts being called a racist when you know you’re not, and they won’t even hear you out. We let them have their time, their own walk out, and it was really irritating that they were being so horrible towards us and our beliefs,” senior Abby Cronk said.

Some teachers and administrators were present during the entirety of the walkout, and they observed the scene. They tried to remain neutral and not interfere with the walkout, but they talked to students throughout the duration of this time to keep them calm and have their voices be heard. However when students were asked to return to class, tensions escalated.

“…there’s strength in diverse opinions, that’s part of what makes us as a society stronger, so what I hope is that we as a school community can figure out a way to embrace that and that all of our students understand and respect the idea that there’s going to be students who might have different belief systems, but that we can still coexist in a place and recognize that that has the potential to make us all better. That’s a big goal, but that’s what you got to shoot for,” Principal Robert Bach said.

Tillett explained how it was “frustrating to remain silent” while he was being “chanted at and called names.” While walking in the school doors, Tillet described that someone attempted to steal a flag from one of the students involved in the Back the Blue walkout.

Students involved in the Back the Blue walkout felt like they accomplished the main purpose, to show support of law enforcement. 

“We were aiming for the walkout to be seen by police officers in our area so they could see student support and possibly brighten their day,” Tillett said.