Armstrong HS Students Stage Walkout
Students at Armstrong High School in the Robbinsdale School District walked out of school Friday afternoon to express their views on the school’s climate.
“We want more diversity in our teachers, so we can get more help,” said Soraya Bouzouma, an Armstrong freshman. “Our teachers and our staff should reflect us and they should support us. We are severely understaffed.”
Several hundred students walked out of class and gathered on the school’s front lawn at around 12:30 p.m. on Friday.
Their main complaint centered around the lack of diversity among the school’s faculty.
Several students told the gathered media that the school’s environment is ‘tense.’
They claim that white students have directed racial slurs toward students of color, and Armstrong’s white teachers don’t know how to deal with that type of discrimination.
“Teachers of the other race, staff of the other race, don’t know how to respond to that,” said Jaimie Bolben, an Armstrong sophomore.
“We need people like us in positions of power supporting us,” Bouzouma added.
School District Response
Meanwhile, at his State of the District Address in March, Superintendent Carlton Jenkins talked about the need to address racial disparities. He pointed out that students of color make up 31 percent of the student population, yet receive 66 percent of all suspensions and expulsions.
The Robbinsdale School District issued the following statement on Friday afternoon:
Robbinsdale Area Schools believes in amplifying student voice, which is Goal 4 of our Unified District Vision. Of almost 2,000 students at Armstrong High School, approximately 150 students exercised their right to peacefully protest this afternoon. Students engaged in a “walkout” demonstration to express their various concerns. We support our students in voicing their concerns.
Some media outlets were present and interviewed a few students and staff. Armstrong administration and district officials worked to ensure student safety and a respectful environment for discourse.
Thank you for your support as we work to create the best possible learning environments for all students. –Carlton D. Jenkins, Superintendent.