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Jan. 18 Walkouts Cause Divide Among Francis Howell Community Members

Senior+Kyndall+Bovinett+discusses+her+experience+as+a+POC+in+the+Francis+Howell+school+district+during+the+Jan.+18+walkout.
Credit to Faith Smith
Senior Kyndall Bovinett discusses her experience as a POC in the Francis Howell school district during the Jan. 18 walkout.

 On Jan. 18, students from the three Francis Howell high schools walked out during the school day in protest of the recent Board of Education policies surrounding the Black Literature and Black History electives. Before the walkout, many students who had heard about it shared one of two common opinions: they felt the need to show up and walk out or had feared they may face repercussions for skipping class.

“I kind of thought of sitting out today because I felt like our opinions might have not been heard and we were just doing this for nothing,” junior Arianna May said. “But I felt if everybody made an effort it would turn out something great like it did.”

 Those who decided to show up were invited to bring signs, many of which varied from “You can’t spell education without DEI” to “Black Lives Matter”. Speeches were also made by students with the main topic being to implore students and community members to continue voicing their opinions until the classes are rescinded the way they originally were.

 “I think that you should take risks, as in, do what you believe in,” sophomore Grace Kirk said. “Come to these things because it matters even if you don’t think it does.”

 Students are allowed to protest as long as they don’t disrupt the education process. This is why walkouts are the most common and was most recently seen in the 2021-22 school year in protest of the school shootings going on at the time. Attendance is marked as it usually would be with those who arrive late to class being marked tardy or absent to keep things accurate regardless of their presence at the walkout. No additional repercussions are endured.

 Many students didn’t know what kind of repercussions they may endure or didn’t want the absence that may surround walking out and decided to opt out of walking out for those reasons. Others believed that the walkout would reflect poorly on them so they decided to stay in their classes.

“I believe it is important to stay in class, your education is what you make of it and not showing up shows a lack of responsibility,” Sophomore Jack Rudden said.

The FHC and FHHS schools also came together and held similar walkouts which were also student led.  Those student leaders voiced their opinions on parts of the community that have decided to stay quiet while this entire ordeal has occurred. 

“I understand that there were several students who couldn’t, whether it be their parents or they were an athlete who couldn’t be absent,” FHHS student leader Makayla Clark said. “However there are some who were just cowards and because this didn’t directly impact them they simply did not care.”

 

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