OREGON – Students of a West Linn High School, Oregon, dared rain and walked out of class on Monday to make a clear statement that they are united against racism, following a number of overtly racist incidents in the first week after Donald Trump’s election.
“There have been issues across the country and we’re trying to take a stand saying we won’t tolerate it,” Wallace Milner, a Sophomore at West Linn High, told KGW.com on Monday, November 14.
Students said hate incidents included a Muslim girl called a terrorist and a Latino student called “illegal.”
“To us it’s not acceptable. We don’t want anyone to feel unsafe. We want everybody to feel like they’re protected, like they have a place in our school,” said Milner.
“It’s completely dumb and we should just respect others,” said Steven Burch, a Junior at the school.
Milner found another offensive phrase directed at Jewish people, scribbled on a bathroom wall, on Monday.
“It’s terrible,” Milner said.
Similar racist incidents have been documented across the country and in Oregon, in places like Bend, Silverton and at Reed College.
“Just because a candidate was elected, your racism shouldn’t feel validated and you shouldn’t feel good saying those things to people at all either,” said Senior and Student Body President, Tristan Waits.
He added that many students were now afraid of coming to the school.
“Whether it be because racial tensions have gotten so high in our country, or the polarization of our candidates and the electorate in our country, I don’t know. But it’s still saddening to me and it doesn’t seem like it should be an issue, but it is,” said Waits.
Similar move to reject racism was taken by Madison High School in Northeast Portland, where they wore matching t-shirts that said, “At Madison we stand together against racism, sexism, hatred & bigotry.”
“We are all against racism. We are all against bigotry. We’re against sexism. We’re against hate, and I believe that’s something everybody can rally around,” said Petra Callin, Madison High’s principal.
The positive images were sending a message of unity against hate.
“It’s showing how much we care about our school and how much we care about our community,” Milner, from West Linn, said.