Student Led Walkout


Aundrea Gresham, reporter

On Friday October 8th,2021, Lakes students, Nathan Leal and Vivian Potoa’e, organized a walk out during first period in the student parking lot. Attended by about 40 students and 7 staff members, the walkout’s purpose was to bring attention to the issues that students feel our administration has been turning a blind eye to such as sexual harassment, racism, and more. There were multiple speakers including Vivian Potoa’e, Ava Waseen and Nathan Leal who talked about what they feel needs to be done to make our school a safer and more welcoming environment and even told stories about personal incidents concerning the issues at hand. Nathan and Vivian wanted to create an outlet for students to speak on their experiences at Lakes that the administration ignored. “It was intended to stand in solidarity and bring light to what really matters, standing together for what’s right.” said Vivian when asked what led her and Nathan to organize this.                           

Becky Cushman, one of the staff members that attended the walkout, was asked to speak on how she felt about it, to which she replied “We are in desperate need of a cultural shift here at Lakes. Holding peers and staff accountable is a powerful first step.” Ms. Cushman is an outspoken supporter for students advocating for themselves and consistently shows it by showing up for her students in times like these. Students are often silenced and discredited by adults and administration at Lakes and the end goal of this walkout is for students to finally feel seen and heard.       

Some of the students who spoke about their individual experiences talked about the use of slurs around our campus that make minority groups feel unsafe and uncomfortable in our school. Specifically, the use of the n-word by non-black students and the use of the f-slur by non-queer students. This is and has been a problem at our school for years and our administration sits back and lets it happen. They preach “school safety” to us but when students speak up about feeling unsafe, they do nothing. Students have grown tired of it and are finding their voices to use for the greater good.