Walk Outs

Walk Outs
December 11, 2014 GWHS

By now you’ve heard that Denver high schools have been experiencing a number of student walkouts in response to the events in Ferguson and New York. For the most part these walkouts have unplanned and chaotic. I wanted to take a minute to share with you what has been happening at GW specifically, and to commend a group of our students for their foresight and compassion.

On December 4th, the morning after students at East walked out, we heard rumors that our students were planning to do the same. However, later that morning two students, Tamara Archer, co-President of the Black Student Alliance and Jeanette Navarro came to my office and shared that they were planning a walkout for December 9th, the five-month anniversary of Michael Brown’s death. They wanted this to be a lesson in being engaged citizens and affecting change with respect and passion. They did not want students to walk out that morning because their plans were not finalized and they were concerned about student safety. They made an announcement encouraging students to wait until Tuesday so that a meaningful and safe protest could be planned.

A small group of students did walk out the morning of December 4th, but the majority of students listened to Jeanette and Tamara.

On December 9th, many of our students wore black, participated in 45 minutes of silence during 4th period (4.5 minutes for each of the ten African-American males who have been killed over the past few years), and walked out of the building at 1pm. For nearly an hour they sat peacefully on the sidewalk holding signs. They concluded by discussing how they can contribute to change and progress in our society. It was clear that our students were not walking out for the thrill of leaving school. They were informed and passionate and created a meaningful space for students to discuss these national tragedies.

It’s moments like these ” when learning leaves the confines of the classroom ” that make me proud to be involved in education. This event was planned by the Black Student Alliance (BSA), supported by BSA’s faculty sponsor, Michelle Rosen, and condoned by the GW Administration. We were all impressed by the maturity and thoughtfulness of the students. They even caught the attention of the Denver Police Department who stopped by yesterday to commend the students who organized the event.


José Martinez | Principal
George Washington High School