Boston high school students hold walkout to protest Trump

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BOSTON — With chants of “Dump Trump!” and “Donald Trump KKK!,” high school students across the Hub held a walkout Monday afternoon to show their disapproval with the incoming American president, ditching class in the name of ”building a student-led resistance against Donald Trump.”

The walkout occurred at 1 p.m., despite pleas from Superintendent of Schools Tommy Chang, who said that while “their voice matters,” he urged students to use their voices “on campus.”

“Have dialogue with your peers and with adults that care so deeply about you,” Chang added in his statement.  “Losing classroom time won’t help anyone.”

The nearly 300 students who marched first to the Common and later to the State House and City Hall had other ideas.

According to organizers, students “have the right to protest and stand together against the inexcusable statements he has made about, and the harmful policies he promises to enact against, immigrants, Muslims, black Americans, the disabled, the LGBTQ+ community and women.”

A cluster of students later moved away from the Common and occupied the hallway outside Gov. Charlie Baker’s office at the State House, chanting, “Call him!,” while demanding a meeting that would never occur:

Earlier on Monday, Mayor Marty Walsh told Boston Herald Radio that while he supports the students’ right to express themselves, he would prefer that they do so outside of school hours.

“I don’t know who is organizing these young people and I just hope that if there are real organizers — and they seem to be national organizers — don’t use the kids,” Walsh added.

Walsh’s comments echoed similar remarks he made last March after more than 1,000 Boston Public Schools students participated in a walk-out to protest anticipated cuts to the city’s education budget.

“I’d love to see who’s behind the walkout,” Walsh said at the time. “Whoever’s behind it, I hope they start to feed the young students in our city with accurate information and not misguided information.”

Organizers had earlier used social media to reach out to the parents of students, urging them to flood Baker’s office with calls with a scripted message:

“I’m a Massachusetts voter and I support the Boston student walk-outers who are protesting president-elect Trump and I support their demands. Please commit to protecting public education and vulnerable students from federal policies, make Massachusetts a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants, publicly denounce Steve Bannon and Trump’s connections to white supremacist movements, and publicly stand by the Standing Rock Water Protectors. Thank you.”

According to Baker’s schedule, the governor was slated to participate in the 4 p.m. swearing-in ceremony of new Appeals court Justice Kenneth Desmond at the John Adams Courthouse, and had earlier spent the bulk of the afternoon meeting with the House and Senate leadership team.

After failing to force a meeting with Baker, the students moved on to Boston City Hall, where they demanded to meet with Walsh:

While waiting outside Walsh’s office, students chanted, “youth united will never be defeated!” and “I believe that we will win!”  

Chants later included “come out, Marty!,” as students appeared to grow frustrated with Walsh:

A copy of Walsh’s schedule showed that he was slated to attend a tree lighting in Brighton at 5 p.m. Activists did manage to meet with John F. Barros, the city’s economic development chief, however. Protesters repeatedly chanted “sanctuary city” after Barros told them he’d take their demand that Boston be officially designated with sanctuary status to the mayor:

Barros later told activists that city leaders are concerned that the incoming Trump administration may make cuts to federal education funding. 

“Before we have that conversation, let’s all get up, be clear, be loud and say public education needs to be properly funded in the United States,” Barros said. 

A copy of the students’ list of demands: