Cleveland Students Walkout Against President-elect Donald Trump
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On Monday, Nov. 14, the first day back at school after the election, more than 70 students at Cleveland walked out to make their voices heard and show everyone that they were not going to support Donald Trump as president because he doesn’t represent their views.
Students were most offended and concerned about his stance on immigration, climate change, gender equality, and the language he used during his campaign describing women, the disabled, and minorities.
At 9:50 a.m., after first period, students walked out of the building. First they met at the front steps of Cleveland, where signs were distributed with messages such as “Not my president” and “Black Lives Matter.” They then started their 2.5 mile march to Pioneer Courthouse Square, with police blocking traffic to make sure the students remained safe. Arriving at the square, they joined hundreds of students from more than 10 other schools within the district.
The walkout, which was originally planned by an organizing committee right after the election results came in, was hastily called off Saturday night after student body representatives voiced their concern over the students’ safety. They cited problems with the protesters during the previous Friday night’s rally in downtown Portland, which had turned violent. Cleveland’s principal Tammy O’Neill, and the PPS administration did not officially condone the walkout, and students who chose to participate, were informed that they would be marked absent during that time.
However, this did not deter many students who felt it necessary to voice their concerns. The faces of the walkout represented the diverse Cleveland community with students ranging from freshmen to seniors, male to female, and students of different races and ethnicities. They were angry about the election results, the fact that the electoral college outcome did not match the popular vote, and the fact that many of them were too young to vote.
“It was really cool. I felt like it brought a lot of people around the school and the district as a whole together. I feel like it really empowered people around our community. It was the first time I’ve ever done something like that and I really enjoyed it,” said senior Tanner Montagriff-Peck.
A lot of students reiterated that message. “I don’t come from America but I feel what happens here still affects me. I don’t see Donald Trump as a president for Portland or for me. That’s why I walked out,” said Pascal Schindler, an exchange student from Germany who is studying at Cleveland this semester.
While the walkout probably won’t change the results of the election, the students take solace in the acceptance and kindness of their peers. That has been a common theme as people are still dealing with the realization of a Donald Trump presidency.