Walk Out, Die In.

#HandsUpWalkOut

Luke+Davis%2C+CHS+Junior%2C+speaks+to+a+crowd+of+protesters+in+below+freezing+weather+in+the+Quad.++

Luke Davis, CHS Junior, speaks to a crowd of protesters in below freezing weather in the Quad.

Lawrence Hu, Distribution Editor

Following the protests outside, the students took 4.5 minutes to “die” in the Commons as a moment of silence.

“No justice, no peace! No racist police!”

“Hands up, don’t shoot!”

“Hey! Ho! These killer cops have got to go!”

“This is what democracy looks like!”

The powerful, booming voice of CHS students echoed through Clayton High School’s quad today in what many called an extremely powerful and successful movement.

The website that had organized the protest, FergusonAction.com, has issued a large list of demands for both the local and national governments to realize, many regarding law enforcement and the justice system, such as the de-militarization of local law enforcement across the country and a passage of the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA).

Dubbed as #handsupwalkout, the campaign is a followup to what was known nationwide as Ferguson October. Clayton High School’s participation was only of dozens executed simultaneously all over the country in an attempt to “disrupt the workday” and create awareness.

A total of 39 students signed up for the Facebook event, with over 230 invited. An estimated 60 students participated.

Clayton’s facet of this is a step, but many wonder which direction this has taken. For one, this was a movement that lit many of the students’ hearts ablaze. Clayton is renowned for its diverse and open-minded thinking, and for the public’s eye, this took a turn that only reinforced that sentiment.

On the other hand, we have yet to hear from a single student that does not support the Ferguson movement.

Unfortunately, the administration still has not presented an opportunity for students, teachers and other staff members to hold a conversation about the numerous topics that have resurfaced in the last few months. This is honestly ridiculous.

Instead of finding a mentor, students turned to Facebook, Twitter and social media for an outlet for rage, emotions and disappointment following the release of the grand jury’s decision. To say the least, some were more sensible than others.

Now, an issue that arises is the lack of community that plagues our school. We have our occasional bonding moments, yes, but overall we are relatively disconnected. Wydown Middle School seems to allow free speech better than its high school counterpart, as they featured advisories: short weekly meetings that allowed students to connect outside of the classroom.

Here at CHS, opportunities to express oneself are still seemingly only limited to extra-curricular activities such as the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), the Social Justice Club (SJC) and to teachers’ discretions within the classroom.

Richard Kordenbrock, a history teacher at CHS, occasionally brought up the topic of Ferguson and its newfound prevalence in today’s world and has allowed students to share their opinions. In an email to me regarding the protest, he said, “I think this is an appropriate response and am fully supportive of those who choose to participate.” Kordenbrock also noted that regardless of what happened, there would be no consequences for joining the protest during his class periods.

Meanwhile in a classroom one floor up, Brad Krone, a chemistry teacher, has “isolated the classroom” from any further discussion.

#handsupwalkout

A large group of protesters wielding signs flood the Quad from the Commons.

As I mentioned previously, the nation is sure to see a change. Regardless of if it’s on a federal, local or even a household level, the Ferguson incident has surely brought the racial divide of our nation to light. However, it’s unfortunate that the so-called “Clayton bubble” applies here as many of us are still silent, while some schools have invited speakers and held assemblies.

Clayton needs to follow suit. There is no doubt that a vast group of students here at Clayton have their opinions that are locked away inside and the key: for us to start talking.

You can’t have a conservation without that.