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Students at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in Ladue, Mo., walked out of class Wednesday to protest recent racist incidents that they say school administrators are not taking seriously, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
The students assembled outside the school after noon, with several black students and parents demanding stricter punishment for students over the incidents, as well as a firmer stance from officials on racism at the school.
According to the Post-Dispatch, at least 150 students then organized a march near the school.
“We’ll come back to school when they treat us right,” 15-year-old Tajah Walker, a student who led the protest, told the news site. “If they suspend me, they better suspend everybody.”
Students marched to the district’s administrative offices, where they then confronted district spokesperson Susan Downing, demanding to speak to the superintendent.
“If that’s how you feel, then we need to fix that,” Superintendent Donna Jahnke said after coming out of the offices for a few minutes before returning inside, according to the Post-Dispatch. “But we can’t fix it if you all won’t work with us.”
“She has the privilege to sit there and give us the fluff answer,” Tajah said, referencing the superintendent. “ ‘Sorry’ don’t fix everything.”
According to the news site, in just this past week, two white students have been disciplined for telling black students that they should go to the back of a school bus, while chanting, “Trump, Trump, Trump.”
Tajah’s mother, Tango Walker-Jackson, said that her daughter had experienced five incidents herself this school year. On Tuesday evening, Ladue residents echoed the same sentiment, informing the district’s school board that these incidents were not isolated.
One mother, Lynette Hamilton, took to Facebook to describe how her son, a sophomore at Ladue, had been taunted and poked with a hot glue gun, resulting in burns.
“Ladue has to be one of the most racial profiling schools in Saint Louis MO. This is sickening what is happening to our children and the response and action the district is taking when it comes to African American students. It saddens me,” Hamilton wrote on her post, which was accompanied by photos of her son’s burned arm. “After a anti racism/bullying meeting today I learned that this problem has been in this district for years and years now. With little to no consequences. Get to the back of the bus, being burned and being told get on the ship to go back to Africa is just a piece of what this district has going on and try to sweep it all under the rug.”
Read more at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.