TIGARD, Ore. (KOIN) — Tigard High School students staged a walkout Wednesday morning to protest a racist video posted on social media in a show of support for students of color.
Those who took part in the walkout said the video is just one example of a larger problem that exists within the school. Some of the students who walked out told KOIN 6 News they feel uncomfortable at their own school because of acts like this and they believe there’s not enough currently being done to respond to acts of racism when they do happen.
Keiry and Nyah Muhammad said they saw the video. It disturbed them and involved the use of racial slurs for different groups of people. They said more than 100 students took part in the walkout and it gave them a sense of relief knowing that other students stood in solidarity with them.
“A lot of people showed up and they all had somewhat, like, a statement on the situation that was going on at school with the video,” Nyah said. “I was embarrassed for (the girl on the video) on her part, because she shouldn’t have said that, but also it was sick to have to listen to those words to be said and it’s just not OK for her to say that at all.”
“When we had a chance to share experiences, we all could relate to what has happened,” said Keiry, who is a sophomore. “It’s been happening not just like, recently, but for years, like racism or slurs being called to people of color or other races.”
Nyah, a freshman, said, “It made me feel more safe at the school that there were people around us that would say something if something comes up.”
In a note to students and parents obtained by KOIN 6 News, Tigard High School Principal Brian Bailey said, in part:
“An Instagram post linked to Tigard High School students was circulated that contained offensive and hurtful racist language. This situation in no way represents our districts’ values or our commitment to ensuring every student that walks through our doors feels welcome, respected, and safe. Additionally, it goes against everything Tigard High School (THS) stands for.
“At this time, our 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. …
“… This is an opportunity for us as a school community, as parents, and staff to make space to talk about race constructively and respectfully. We will continue our practice of engaging students in conversation to address intentional and unintentional bias and hate.”