Another student walkout took place at an American high school, this time in support of a gay classmate who was allegedly harassed and bullied because of his sexuality.
Hundreds of students were seen walking out of Lee’s Summit High School in Missouri on Monday, October 4, demanding action regarding the treatment of classmate Danny Lillis.
According to Kansas City Star, since the start of the school year, Lillis and her friends have been intimidated by another group of students who regularly throw hateful food and slurs at them.
Lillis says he reported the incidents to school administrators at least four times, “crying, saying” I don’t feel safe “on several occasions. And nothing has changed.
“Whenever this has happened, our kids have gone to student administration and reported it,” said Melanie Davies, mother of one of Lillis’ friends. “There is supposed to be a zero tolerance policy for harassment, but nobody is doing anything about it. They didn’t get the help they needed.
After weeks of harassment, Lillis and her friends finally confronted the bullies on Wednesday (October 29), which resulted in a physical altercation on the school grounds.
No teacher was present, the students themselves had to break up the fight; Lillis ended up with cuts and bruises on her face while Davies’ daughter had her nose broken.
School administrators responded by punishing all students the same, giving Lillis and her allied friends a five-day suspension as well as bullies – and that turned out to be the last straw.
“We decided to go out today to basically show a movement towards our school and an administration for the lack of action in the face of these repeated and multiple events that have happened to me and my friends,” said Lillis. KSHB 41.
“I am terrified to put another foot in this school. Walk into a building where someone had just hit my friend and broke her nose because of this whole situation.
He was joined by crowds of fellow students who gathered outside the school campus, blasting horns and chanting, “We must be heard!
They were supported by a Change.org petition signed by more than 2,800 people, which asks high school administrators to apologize to Lillis and her friends for their suspension.
It also calls on officials to thoroughly investigate and respond to reports of harassment based on sexual orientation; enforce the school’s zero tolerance policy on bullying; and to apologize for “inflicting fear on all LGBTQ + students of LSHS regarding their physical and mental safety at school.”
In a statement to KSHB 41 On Monday morning, the school district said it supported the right of students to express their opinions.
“We support the right of our students to express their voices peacefully and communicate with students on the best ways we can support them,” a spokesperson said. “Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is committed to supporting and working with students to address their concerns with fairness, dignity and respect. “
The district added that everyone in the school community “deserves to feel safe and welcome” and that harassment or discrimination is strictly prohibited. An investigation is pending.
“District administrators will follow the policies and procedures of the education council as we determine the next steps,” they added. “In LSR7, it is a top priority to ensure an inclusive culture where students, staff and families are valued and treated with dignity.
Student walkouts hit schools where it hurts
The Lee’s Summit High School protest is the latest in a wave of student walkouts against anti-LGBT + hatred in the education system, and schools are finding them increasingly difficult to ignore.
Three LGBT + protests took place in September alone – one at Winterset High School in Iowa, another at MacArthur High School in Texas, and a third at Temple High School, also in Texas.
These walkouts are becoming more common, according to Frederick Heather, advocacy and education manager for Out Youth’s Texas Gay Straight Alliance – and they hit those responsible where it hurts.
“Schools are paid according to the number of students in the seats. And so if the students are not seated, it directly affects the income of the school, ”they explained to RoseNews.
“It comes down to how many students you have in the classroom on any given day, how many students you have graduated from, how many students you have passed the standardized test. All of these things have a direct bearing on the funding that schools receive.
“Students, much like unionized workers, are starting to realize that you have the power and the right to make these demands, especially for something like your safety and well-being in your classroom.”
Adding unfavorable media coverage has given students more leverage than ever before, and they are making sure their voices are heard.