Students protest the district’s handling of an incident of hate speech


Maggie Troxell

After a racist social media post surfaced over the long weekend, students organize a walkout. Protest organizer sophomore Anahi Sanchez Harmon spoke during the Dec. 1 event. Many students shared personal stories of their experiences with racism.

By Abbi Elliott and Molly Fast

     Following a social media incident that came to light over Thanksgiving break regarding racist slurs shared by a member of the Tigard community, students gathered in protest of white privilege and hate speech. 

     The post originated on Instagram off campus, and targeted no specific individuals but rather targeted their communities as a whole.

     As the clock struck 11:05 a.m., students walked out of their classrooms and met in the commons to speak up about their experiences facing discrimination at Tigard. 

     Facing the crowd, students stood on the learning stairs with posters that read; “Why is ending racism a debate,” “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention,” “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” “No justice, no peace,” “Listen, learn, change,” and “End white privilege now.”

     During the protest, students took turns taking the microphone sharing their personal stories and experiences. A few students spoke about their younger siblings facing racism and how they wanted to protect them. Others shared their personal experiences about being called racial slurs in the hallways, along with other hurtful comments about their appearance. 

During the Dec. 1 student walkout, junior Henry Castillo speaks about what he believes the district should do when presented with cases of hate speech. Castillo serves as the president of the school’s No Place for Hate club, which is a national organization established to promote inclusivity, equity and respect in communities. (Maggie Troxell)

     No Place For Hate club president Henry Castillo shares his thoughts of the events that took place on Dec. 1.

     “In my speech I talked about how the administration was being hypocritical about their policy when it comes to hate speech,” Castillo explained. “I don’t think that the policies should be changed but I do think that they have to actually [be] enforced.”

     Castillo was referring to the fact the student who had been recorded making the hateful comments was seen in the building on Monday.

     Students began leaving the crowd to stand in solidarity with their peers, filling the steps of the learning stairs. 

     Although Principal Brian Bailey was occupied with the protest and unavailable for comment today, in an email on Tuesday, he wrote to students and staff that their “focus will be to address the individuals who have caused harm and equally as important, to provide spaces and resources to those who have been harmed by this careless act.” According to Bailey, “This will include: new learning, unlearning, re-educating and accountability for those who caused harm. Listening sessions and holding space for students to unpack the harm this incident caused.”

     Today’s protest unfolded much like the school’s first listening session. 

     Approximately 400 students attended the protest in the commons. Some students headed outside to march and talk with reporters and some continued the march off campus. In total, the protest lasted about 2 hours.

     There will be continued coverage as the story develops.

Seniors April Avila Jacome and Elliana Davila sit in an embrace listening to the experiences shared by peers at the Dec. 1 walkout. During the protest students took the microphone and shared personal experiences with racism. (Maggie Troxell)