Newport High School walkout

@meliaeashh/TikTok

‘We want action’: Viral TikToks show students walking out of high school to protest handling of sexual assault

'The principal told her it wasn't her job to change the system.'

 

Nahila Bonfiglio

IRL

Published Nov 23, 2021   Updated Nov 24, 2021, 7:33 am CST

Students in Bellevue, Washington arranged a walkout of their high school Friday in response to the school’s lack of action regarding an assault.

Numerous TikTok videos, shared by student protesters, flooded the platform between Friday and Tuesday, showing students demand “action” from their school leaders.

The student protest ultimately led Newport High School to announce a lockdown, according to reporting from My Northwest, to allow school leaders to “get a handle on what they called a substantial disruption to the educational process.”

The walkout was arranged in response to the school’s alleged lacking response to a student’s reported assault. Seventeen-year-old Alex Su, who spoke with My Northwest with the permission of a parent, was the victim of abuse by a fellow student. She says school and district leaders failed to take action to make her feel safer on campus following her report.

In response to this, hundreds of students walked out in solidarity with Su. She told My Northwest that “It was really nice to know that so many people supported me.”

Videos of the walkout show hordes of students shouting “we want action” from the halls of the high school. One popular video, shared by user @checkmybioformoreinfo, has since collected more than 2.6 million views, and hundreds of thousands of likes and comments. The video has a text overlay that provides some additional context, noting that, following Su’s report, “the school told her they wouldn’t get involved because it happened off-campus.” When Su took to social media to share her story, the school allegedly tried to expel her.

@checkmybioformoreinfo

telling a student she’s just as bad as her abuser for speaking out is so wrong #washington #newporthighschool #spreadawareness #abuse

♬ original sound – Nope

“The principal (a woman) told the victim she was attention-seeking and women should learn to run away to prevent it,” the text overlay continues. “The principal told her it wasn’t her job to change the system.”

In response to the protest, Su and other student organizers have reportedly been expelled.

“We are literally begging for help, and you’re expelling us,” she told My Northwest. “That doesn’t make any sense. We are begging for help and they are openly turning us away.”

“I think that the Bellevue School District is really well known for putting this inclusivity front and this whole like we support our students, we love diversity, but it’s not true,” Su added. “I think that so many people need to know that that’s not true.”

District leaders, in a statement to KIRO 7 TV, simply commented on the lockdown. “Our school made the decision to go into lockdown status because the school environment was unsafe as a result of those actions.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Newport High School.

Update 7:30am CT, Nov. 24: Newport High School’s Chief Communications and Engagement Officer, Janine Thorn, told the Daily Dot that the school is supportive of peaceful protests. There was a lockdown during the original protest due to a violation of the school’s freedom to assemble peacefully policy, according to Thorn.

Thorn confirmed that several students were expelled following the protest and lockdown, but was not at liberty to give the number or names of students who were expelled. She was also unable to confirm how, precisely, the freedom to assemble peacefully policy was violated.

As for the principal’s alleged response to the assault, Thorn said a Title 9 investigation is underway both internally and with authorities.


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*First Published: Nov 23, 2021, 1:08 pm CST