Students Walk Out of Class in Protest

Following a Board of Education decision that rattled teachers across the district, students decided to make a statement

Ethan Schreiber

Shawnee Mission Northwest students dressed themselves in red and walked out of their fourth hour classes today at 11 am after a last minute set of GroupMe messages spread throughout the school. This display of students’ first amendment rights was made as part of a districtwide student response to the three year unilateral contract approved 6-1 by the SMSD Board of Education last night.

The board came to this decision after opening the meeting and  immediately moving to a private executive session, then subsequently extending the session four times. The board finally came out of their private meeting to approve their unilateral contract four hours after the actual board meeting started at 6 pm. This decision was strongly opposed by the teachers’ union and the majority of the audience of the meeting.

Students, led primarily by seniors Natalie Hole and Eliza Kidder and junior Erin Albers gathered around at the intersection of 67th and Long St. outside the East entrance of the school to be in full view of media outlets that were not allowed on school grounds.

Many students were redirected by administration to the softball fields in order to “preserve safety”. However, after encouragement from Hole, the students walked through administration and joined the group on the East side of the school. They began to chant “red for ed.”

Hole gave a speech to the group reminding them that this walkout was for the teachers. They stayed there for 16 minutes with signs in support of their teachers; 10 minutes for the roughly $10 million that were “promised and robbed of” and “six more minutes for every sixth class they’ve been paid the equivalent of five classes for,” according to Hole.