Evanston Township High School students Dina Baron and Maya Madjar staged a walkout from school property to Fountain Square on Jan. 24, protesting the election of Donald Trump as president. They had wanted to walk out on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, but there was no school, Dina told the RoundTable, so they planned the walkout for a few days later.
The protest was planned by a committee of 12, 11 of them ETHS students and one from Columbia College. The group is “not an official club, but rather a coalition of like-minded politically motivated peers,” said Dina.
The walkout is not officially sanctioned, and missed class will count as an unexcused absence. And, while there is no official faculty sponsor, Dina said many teachers have supported the walkout.
“One of the most significant points about this event is that it is entirely student-led. Young people will not be complacent these next four years, and for many, this is a good starting point for further activism,” Dina said.
District 202 Superintendent Eric Witherspoon told the RoundTable, “Political protests are one the cherished freedoms we have in America, and there is a long tradition of civil disobedience in our country to address important issues. We respect our students’ right to protest, but that also means them being willing to accept the consequences of a walk-out. In this case, that is an unexcused absence.
“I do appreciate that the students have kept us informed of their plans so we have been able to coordinate with Evanston Police Department and take steps to protect their safety when they are leaving school grounds unauthorized. We have remarkable, thoughtful students at ETHS, and we strive each day to keep them safe and nurture them as they learn to make informed decisions and grow into adulthood.”