2016 | Schools

UPDATED: About Two Dozen Walter Johnson Students Protest Election

The students gathered on the school's football field

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Updated 1:45 p.m. –  Montgomery County Public Schools spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala said about 25 protesters gathered on Walter Johnson High School's football field to protest the election of Donald Trump during the school's fifth period then went back to class.

There were no visible signs of protest outside Walter Johnson High School Tuesday around 11:45 a.m. during the school's lunchtime, when students had been reportedly talking about protesting or staging a walkout.

Some students could be seen leaving the school in small groups during the lunch period, as is typical, but no significant walkout took place such as what happened Monday at Blair, Northwood and Einstein high schools. Onijala said some students may not have returned from lunch, although the exact number hadn't been calculated as of Tuesday afternoon. 

Original story – Students at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda are planning to stage a walkout protest Tuesday morning, a day after Montgomery Blair students walked out of their school in a peaceful protest of the election of President-elect Donald Trump.

Walter Johnson Principal Jennifer Baker wrote in a letter to parents that the school would provide a safe space on campus to demonstrate.

“[H]owever, some students may choose to leave campus to continue the demonstration elsewhere. We will do our best to have our students remain on campus,” Baker’s letter says.

Baker said staff was not encouraging students to participate in the demonstration.

At Silver Spring's Montgomery Blair, students who walked out on Monday were directed to the school’s stadium, but then hundreds left campus and walked along University Boulevard to Northwood High School. County police closed lanes on University Boulevard to protect the protesters.

The students, joined by those from Northwood, walked to Westfield Wheaton mall, where they were also joined by students from nearby Albert Einstein High School in Kensington. After a rally at the mall, the students then walked along Georgia Avenue, escorted by police, into downtown Silver Spring, where they gathered at Veterans Plaza. By late afternoon, most had left the plaza.

Student protests also occurred in Los Angeles; Denver; and Portland, Ore., according to USA Today.

Baker’s letter, which was sent to parents Tuesday morning, cites a Montgomery County Public Schools regulation that says students have a right to assemble to discuss important issues and to demonstrate peacefully.

If the students leave campus, they will be marked with an unexcused absence unless parents send a note excusing the absence within three days, the letter says. Blair Principal Renay Johnson sent a similar letter Monday to Blair parents. 

“The safety and security of our students is a top priority.  We strongly encourage students to remain on campus when demonstrating so that we can ensure they remain safe,” Baker said.

Several parents at a county Board of Education hearing Monday night, testifying in favor of school projects, expressed their pride in the student protesters and thanked the police and school system for keeping them safe.