On Monday, Nov. 14 echoes of “Not my President,” “Love trumps hate,” and many other chants filled the busy streets of Seattle. At 1:30 p.m. around 5,000 Seattle Public School students walked out from their classrooms to protest the outcome of the most recent presidential election. Reasons for walking out differed from each person, but the most overwhelming was to “support minorities and protest against Donald Trump’s bigotry.” Officials with Seattle Public Schools said they stand by the students rights to declare their opinions and share their voices. “While the protests are not sanctioned by the district, SPS students do have the right to peacefully demonstrate and express their personal views,” says an SPS official. Though the students were supported, everyone who walked out still were given unexcused absences for the missed class periods. Depending on the teacher, they were also unable to make up the missed work from that day.
These consequence were not enough to stop the thousands of students from getting out on the streets and putting democracy into practice. “Today’s purpose is to just show that we don’t support what Trump represents. Trump may still be president after this walk out, but it’s a way to express our voices. Over the years, adults have been the ones who care about politics, but I believe this is an awakening in the youth of America,” says sophomore Sarah Shropshire. She adds that the consequences do not compare to the rewards of participating in what she sees as a decisive moment in the nation’s history.
Though there was obvious support for the movement, there were also some students who didn’t quite understand the motivation behind the walk out. “I thought that it wasn’t really going to help anything in the long run, because all in all, it’s just a bunch of high school students leaving class. That’s not going to make Trump resign,” says Makani Hiltner. Along with the negatives, he was also able to see some positives in the walk out. Hiltner adds, “I thought it was a thing of unity for the students. I can see how that would be helpful in this time, but it doesn’t really seem like it will accomplish anything.”
One student who was rather impartial to the event thought that it was a fine idea, but it wasn’t necessarily the only way to go about accepting the election results. “For me, I just felt like if I participated in the walk out it would just make me feel more angry. I am processing the election in my own way, and doing the walk out wouldn’t have helped me,” RHS student Mary Mae Baker says. Though Baker didn’t see the walk out as a necessity for her, she admits that it had a good impact on the school body. She adds, “I feel like they’ve had the opportunity to show their voice because most people who participated in it can’t vote. I saw a total shift in our community; a ton of people were more happy because they did it.”
Whether celebrating or mourning, everyone is dealing with this election in their own way. The most important thing we can do is respect other people’s opinions and give everyone the right to react individually.
featured photo by: Lidia Elala